In this unprecedently favourable context of democracy in Europe, how does one explain citizens’ widespread discontent with the way “real-existing democracy” is practised? Moreover, today’s governments are being assailed by a myriad of external forces, such as globalisation, European integration and inter-cultural migration, to name but a few, which have changed the context in which liberal political democracy operates, and which governments are finding increasingly difficult to cope with.
The future of democracy – trends, analyses and reforms addresses these forces as posing both “challenges and opportunities” facing democracy, analyses the relation of democratic “actors and processes” in relation to “challenges and opportunities” and to the intrinsic tendencies of the practice of “real-existing” democracy. It concludes by proposing twenty-eight reforms that are intended to make democratic institutions work better and bring democracy closer to the will of the people.
Philippe C. Schmitter has been professor in the Departments of Political Science at the University of Chicago, the European University Institute in Italy and Stanford University in California. He has also held visiting professorships at the Universities of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, Harvard, Paris-I, Geneva, Mannheim, and Zurich as well as research positions in both Europe and South America. His current work is on the emerging Euro-polity and on the possibility of post-liberal democracy in western Europe and North America.
Alexander H. Trechsel is Vice-Director of the Research and Documentation Centre on Direct Democracy and Director of the e-Democracy Centre at the University of Geneva. As of 2005 he will hold the Swiss Chair in Federalism and Democracy at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. His research interests are e-democracy, direct democracy, federalism, European integration and political behaviour.