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Distinguishing Features of the Two Models of Democracy, Questionnaire Example

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Questionnaire

In “Three Normative Models of Democracy” Jurgen Habermas states that liberal, or “Lockean” democracy entails a view of the democratic is that the government is to be ‘programmed’ to comply with society’s interests and liberals view society as a ‘market-structured network’ with private people interacting and the government is just a tool of public administration. The republican view on the other hand adopts the belief that politics plays an integral part in social life and is in fact “the reflective form of substantial ethical life” (Habermas: 1). He states that through this republican view citizens become more aware of one another and they develop associations and fellowships under law. Habermas notes that the republican view places an emphasis on sovereignty. He states that “the concept of popular sovereignty stems from the republican appropriation and revaluation of the early modern notion of sovereignty initially associated with absolutist regimes. The state, which monopolizes all the means for a legitimate implementation of force, is seen as an overpowering concentrate of power…” (Habermas: 9). The author rejects this view and reveals his opposition when he refers to the liberal perspective as being more realistic. He states that liberalism distinctly rejects this view for a more realistic approach, as they believe any authority constitutionally produced from the people is “exercised only “by means of elections and voting and by specific legislative, executive, and judicial organs” (Habermas: 9).  The problem the liberal view faces is that it actually pits the government against the people in ways as Habermas states one of the distinct differences between liberalism and Republicanism is that liberalism views politics as a mediator between the administration and the market structured network of private people. Whereas republicans see politics as integral to their social and ethical being. The problem with Republicanism Habermas clearly states that it’s not realistic in regards to its view of authority.

Habermas, Jiirgen. “Three Normative Models of Democracy. “Constellations 1 (1994): N0-1.

On the topic of discipline and power, Foucault undermines the trust in a deliberative democracy, by noting that disciplinary constraints were exhibited through tools of dominance while simultaneously being an execution of disguised power when implemented in the form of “sovereignty (Foucault: 106). Here he shows legality is utilized to disguise power in the form of discipline through obligating citizens to acknowledge a sovereign authority.  When he further details this relationship between sovereignty and the mechanism of discipline, and how it evolved throughout the years he states that, “modern society, then from the nineteenth century up to our own day, has been characterized on the one hand, by a legislation, a discourse, an organization based on public right, whose principle of articulation is the social body and the delegative status of each citizen; and on the other hand, by a closely lined grid of disciplinary coercions whose purpose is in fact to assure the cohesion of this same social body (Foucault: 106). The main point the author is trying to make here is that there actually is no real authority within the theory of sovereignty. The authority is actually implied through the threat of force. He defines legislation as based on the concept of ‘articulating the principles of social body and how each status of citizen is delegated on one side and on the other side the utilization of discipline as a form of ‘coercion’ designed specifically to make sure the connection between the social body and the delegative statuses are kept intact. He then goes on to explain why power can be credited as the real source of what keeps sovereignty and the disciplinary system together noting that, “though a theory of right is a necessary companion to this grid, it cannot in any event provide the terms of its endorsement. Hence these two limits, a right of sovereignty and a mechanism of discipline, which define, I believe, the arena in which power is exercised” (Foucault: 106). When he states that the theory of right is necessary for the concept to work, but then points out that it’s incapable of  backing up its declaration, he is acknowledging that power in some way must make up for the lack of real right to authority sovereignty fails to achieve.

Foucault, Michel. Power/knowledge: Selected interviews and other writings, 1972-1977. Random House LLC, 1980.

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