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Elitism and participation

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  1. The criticisms of the classical theories pave the way to another theory of democracy
    1. The criticisms around the classical theories
    2. Another theory of democracy
  2. The challenges to the elitist theory lead to a revival of the classical theory
    1. The elitist theory challenged
    2. Towards a participatory theory of democracy

The document analyzes the question of who actually governs and should govern a State, and by the means through which a political system should be governed. Jean-Jacques Rousseau has described in The Social Contract, the model of what he thought to be the ideal political system: in a small, relatively egalitarian community united by a shared civic religion. Rousseau thought it is possible to develop a political system based on the participation of each citizen in political decision making. This system would enable to "educate" citizens and make collective decisions more easily which acceptable by an individual since the government would be based upon the "general will". The criticisms of the classical theories are based on the empirical remark that democratic politics don't work as described in the classical theories. Consequently, the work by Schumpeter and Berelson, among others, will consider each requirement commonly assumed for the successful operation of democracy according to the classical theories and confront these requirements to the results of an empirical research. The following divisions by themes is inspired from Berelson's book, Voting (chapter 14):

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