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Democratic LegitimacyImpartiality, Reflexivity, Proximity$
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Pierre Rosanvallon

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691149486

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691149486.001.0001

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The Decentering of Democracies

The Decentering of Democracies

(p.1) Introduction The Decentering of Democracies
Democratic Legitimacy

Pierre Rosanvallon

, Arthur Goldhammer
Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter considers the definitions of legitimacy in the context of democratic politics. Expressions such as the “great majority” or “vast majority” established the law of numbers, in contrast to the minority rule characteristic of despotic and aristocratic regimes. At first, it was the difference in the origins of power and the foundation of political obligation that was crucial. Later, the majority principle came to be recognized in a more narrowly procedural sense. The chapter traces this evolution within the history of democratic elections, positing a decentering of democracy as newer forms of political investment emerge, making democratic politics into something more than merely electing representatives.

Keywords:   legitimacy, democracy, elections, electoral politics, majority rule, political obligation, political investment, democratic systems

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