Parliament from above

Challenges to democracy

Democracy series pamphletsWhat does democracy mean in the 21st century? It is easy to be complacent and assume that the principles which underpin democracy are clear and settled. But many of the most pressing and complex issues facing democracies today arise from clashes about these fundamental, core principles.

How should democratic states respond to perceived threats from religious fundamentalism and political disengagement? Can democratic societies respect cultural and religious diversity at the same time as protecting national security and social unity? Do democratic states have a duty to intervene: can democratic values be actively exported? How should we regard the relationship between capitalism and democracy in an age of globalisation? What is the role of political parties in the functioning of our democratic system and how can they improve their relevance and relationship with the public? Is the decline in voter turnout something to be worried about, or a sign that we are a relatively contented electorate? If it’s a problem, is compulsory voting a solution?

These questions are explored in a series of pamphlets with commentaries by leading academics, journalists, politicians, and civil society leaders.

 

Democracy and Intervention (2007)Democracy and Intervention (2007)

This pamphlet brings together leading experts to consider whether democracy is a universal good and whether it should be actively promoted. It asks whether democratic values can or should be exported from one country to another, how democracy can best be promoted and sustained and if the tensions between religious based democracy and liberal democracy are able to be resolved.

The main essay by Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh is complemented by three commentaries providing a range of alternative views, from Kate Jenkins, Vice Chair of the Hansard Society, Dr John Chipman, Director-General of the International Institute of Strategic Studies and Lindsey Hilsum, International Editor, Channel 4 News.

 

 

Democracy and Political Parties (2007)Democracy and Political Parties (2007)

What is the role of political parties in the functioning of the democratic system? How can they improve their relationship with and relevance to the public? Can they engage more closely with local communities?

This pamphlet includes a lead essay by Professor Paul Webb, and commentaries from John Healey MP, Geoff Mulgan and Baroness Shephard.

 

 

 

Democracy and Capitalism (2006)Democracy and Capitalism (2006)

What are the connections and conflicts between democracy and capitalism? Are they intertwined or should they be seen as separate forces? How should we regard the relationship between capitalism and democracy in an age of globalisation?

This pamphlet includes a lead essay by Lord Dahrendorf, and commentaries from Professor Gerry Stoker, Ruth Lea, Stewart Wallis and Vince Cable MP.

 

 

 

Democracy and Voting (2006)Democracy and Voting (2006)

Is compulsory voting the best solution to low turnouts? Would it enhance civic participation or merely paper over the cracks in our parliamentary democracy? Should we examine other solutions rather than forcing people to the ballot box?

This pamphlet includes a lead essay by Dr Chris Ballinger, and commentaries from Dr Ben Rogers, Dr Ken Ritchie and Professor Helen Margetts.

 

 

 

Democracy and Islam (2006)Democracy and Islam (2006)

How should democratic states respond to perceived threats from religious fundamentalism and political disengagement? And how can democratic societies respect cultural and religious diversity at the same time as protecting national and social unity?

This pamphlet includes a lead essay by Professor Haleh Afshar, and commentaries from Professor Brian Barry, Medeleine Bunting and Sir Iqbal Sacranie OBE.

 

 

Ministry of Justice

 

The Democracy Series pamphlets were funded by the Ministry of Justice.

Research team

Dr Ruth Fox, Director and Head of Research
ruth.fox@hansardsociety.org.uk

Matt Korris, Senior Researcher
matt.korris@hansardsociety.org.uk

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