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How Democracy Works: Divergent Perspectives of Representatives and Citizens

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Abstract

One of the drivers behind the growing disaffection with politics is widespread concern about the functioning of, and satisfaction with, democracy. This chapter focuses on the perceptions and preferences of Spaniards, and their representatives, regarding the functioning of democracy. The argument emphasizes fundamental differences between representatives and the represented with regard to their preferences for how democracy should function. The discussion focuses on the significance of these differences for dimensions of democratic practice. The data analysed show that parliamentarians are far more satisfied with democracy than ordinary citizens are, providing evidence that this contrast is rooted in disagreements over the desirability of enhanced citizen participation in political decision-making.

Keywords

  • Quality of democracy
  • Democratic depth
  • Congruence
  • Democratic practice

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Notes

  1. 1.

    We are grateful to the Editors of this volume for their intellectual input and encouragement as well as their patience. We also gratefully acknowledge the opportunity to use the data collected in the project and analysed here Ciudadanía y parlamentarios en tiempos de crisis y renovación democrática: el caso comparado de España en el contexto del sur de Europa (CSO2016-78016-R).

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Correspondence to Robert M. Fishman .

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Fishman, R.M., Tirado Castro, A. (2021). How Democracy Works: Divergent Perspectives of Representatives and Citizens. In: Coller, X., Sánchez-Ferrer, L. (eds) Politicians in Hard Times. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-70242-7_9

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