Gerry Stoker concludes his recent book Why Politics Matters by affirming: ‘Achieving mass democracy was the great triumph of the twentieth century. Learning to live with it will be the great achievement of the twenty-first’ (Stoker, 2006: 206). Like Stoker, a whole series of scholars at the beginning of the new millennium have argued that the pillars of representative liberal democracy — in particular, parties and popular participation — are creaking (Pharr and Putnam, 2000; Diamond and Gunther, 2001; Dalton and Wattenberg, 2002; Crouch, 2004). In fact, apart from the euphoric period surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall and the seemingly inexorable move towards a united, peaceful, harmonious and liberal democratic Europe, there has long been a tendency to focus on the negative aspects of how Western European democracies function. Indeed, as we can see from even a brief glance at The Crisis of Democracy (Crozier, Huntington and Watanuki, 1975), in the past the portents have been worse and the prophecies far gloomier. For example, in the opening paragraphs of that landmark volume, under the heading ‘The Current Pessimism about Democracy’, we find the comment by the former West German Chancellor Willy Brandt before leaving office that ‘Western Europe has only 20 or 30 more years of democracy left in it’ (ibid.: 2).
|Title of host publication||Twenty-First Century Populism|
|Subtitle of host publication||The Spectre of Western European Democracy|
|Editors||Daniele Albertazzi, Duncan McDonnell|
|Publication status||Published - 14 Dec 2007|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences(all)