Introduction

Chapter

Abstract

Political participation is universally acknowledged as the core element of democracy since classical antiquity. The Greek noun ‘demokratia’ has become the etymological basis for naming modern political systems in hundreds of languages worldwide, despite its sharp breaks and discontinuities from modern representative democracy. Originally being devised by its Athenian inventors as a form of government or a system of rule it has, since the last three centuries, been overwhelmingly dominating western societies and civilization, reaching a widespread appraisal and almost cosmopolitan legitimacy. Prior to the French Revolution, however, it was the Spartan tradition and the Platonizing republic that allured the imagination of political elites and the world of intellectuals. The Athenian democracy was largely considered by its detractors as ochlocracy (mob rule), anarchy, orderlessness and anomie. With the French Revolution of 1789, democracy acquired a distinctive political momentum and was first invoked in a fundamentally transformed way to depict a grand plan for ‘democratisation’, practical as opposed to utopian – i.e., refashioning politics and society in their entirety in order to put into operation the principles of popular self-rule and the sovereignty of the demos, reconciling individual freedom and the pursuit of one’s own good with public order, in accordance with the ideals expounded by the thinkers of the Enlightenment.

Keywords

Political Party Political Participation Civic Engagement Political Engagement Political Trust 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social and Political ScienceUniversity Of CyprusNicosiaCyprus

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