IPSA is pleased to announce the launch of the new research committee on Quality of Democracy (RC 34)
This new research committee wants to cast new light on the empirical analysis of democracy and wants to provides scholars with a new “space” in which they can meet and share methodological and empirical works aiming to deep our understanding of the mechanisms that lead democratic processes, such a changes, subversions, anchoring, etc..
The RC 34 recalls key traditional problems of democratic regimes such as: how rulers can be held accountable to ruled? How responsive policy making can contribute to a more accountable government? To what extent equality and freedom are related? How the several types of accountability are combined in a democracy? Does this combination vary over time?
These are some of the research questions that have been recast and have been profoundly reshaping the traditional empirical theory of democracy as a consequence of the spread of democracies in all areas of the world over the last 60 years, but especially since the early 1970s, leading to renewed interest in classic political science topics such as elections, parties, civil society, institutions and institutional design, decision making, policies and their implementation.
Taking into account the political changes towards democracy in the period between 1974 and today the purpose of this new Research Committee is to explore what theroretical developments are possible in the analysis of this widespread and important phenomenon, in order to respond to a number of questions that are both highly relevant and still debated, but which have yet to be answered in an adequate and satisfactory manner.
Behind the search for theoretical advances lies another key problem that can ultimately only be resolved empirically: how far is it possible to develop comparative democratic theory while avoiding the double trap of the banality of over-general assertions and a short sighted view of an important phenomenon due to the limits and constraints imposed by a specific analysis of either one case or very few cases within a small span of time?
Actions taken by the RC 34 will cover both networking, research coordination, and dissemination.