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Framing DemocracyA Behavioral Approach to Democratic Theory$
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Jamie Terence Kelly

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155197

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155197.001.0001

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Behavioral Democratic Theory Applied

Behavioral Democratic Theory Applied

(p.74) Chapter Four Behavioral Democratic Theory Applied
Framing Democracy

Jamie Terence Kelly

Princeton University Press

This chapter assesses the relevance of framing effects for particular normative theories of democracy. It shows how the phenomenon of framing discussed in Chapter 1 ought to affect our thinking about democracy. Drawing on the characterization of the field of democratic theory from Chapter 2, it shows the relevance of framing effects for particular categories of normative theories of democracy. It uses the description of behavioral democratic theory from Chapter 3 to show that emphasizing moral reasons, feasibility constraints, and institutional design leads to important insights about the consequences of framing effects. The chapter's general aims are as follows. First, it shows that minimalist theories of democracy—those that place the fewest demands on the political judgment of citizens—can produce only weak moral reasons for endorsing democracy. Second, in order to be feasible, theories of democracy that incorporate more robust epistemic claims must endorse institutional mechanisms capable of counteracting the pernicious effects of framing.

Keywords:   framing effects, normative theories, democracy, democratic theory, emphasizing moral reasons, feasibility constraints, institutional design

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