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On Democratic (E)quality in the United States - A Study on Contemporary American Democracy

Harriman, David and Hjelm, Maria (2006)
Department of Political Science
Abstract
Much attention has been paid to Western democracies? (in particular the United State?s) eagerness to promote (liberal) democracy worldwide. However, less attention has been paid to the domestic democratic condition in these countries.

Consequently, this thesis is concerned with the state of democracy in the United States and the basic purpose is to evaluate its (e)quality. As a result, we apply three different indicators (economic and political inequality respectively, and social capital) in order to measure American democratic quality. These indicators are chosen on the basis of our empirical starting point (liberal democracy) and normative viewpoint (strong democracy), in which equality, participation and social trust constitute... (More)
Much attention has been paid to Western democracies? (in particular the United State?s) eagerness to promote (liberal) democracy worldwide. However, less attention has been paid to the domestic democratic condition in these countries.

Consequently, this thesis is concerned with the state of democracy in the United States and the basic purpose is to evaluate its (e)quality. As a result, we apply three different indicators (economic and political inequality respectively, and social capital) in order to measure American democratic quality. These indicators are chosen on the basis of our empirical starting point (liberal democracy) and normative viewpoint (strong democracy), in which equality, participation and social trust constitute important democratic elements.

Arguably, American democracy clearly exhibit problems of keeping up with its liberal democratic ideals despite constitutional guarantees for e.g. equal voice and participation. Our conclusion is that this situation has worsened over time and that income and wealth disparities have increased. At the same time, the thesis argues that economic inequality, together with a more money-based participatory system, is an important explanation to this development. Thus, these two factors, together with decreasing levels of social trust and political participation, constitute substantial threats to American democratic quality. (Less)
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@misc{1323684,
  abstract     = {Much attention has been paid to Western democracies? (in particular the United State?s) eagerness to promote (liberal) democracy worldwide. However, less attention has been paid to the domestic democratic condition in these countries.

Consequently, this thesis is concerned with the state of democracy in the United States and the basic purpose is to evaluate its (e)quality. As a result, we apply three different indicators (economic and political inequality respectively, and social capital) in order to measure American democratic quality. These indicators are chosen on the basis of our empirical starting point (liberal democracy) and normative viewpoint (strong democracy), in which equality, participation and social trust constitute important democratic elements.

Arguably, American democracy clearly exhibit problems of keeping up with its liberal democratic ideals despite constitutional guarantees for e.g. equal voice and participation. Our conclusion is that this situation has worsened over time and that income and wealth disparities have increased. At the same time, the thesis argues that economic inequality, together with a more money-based participatory system, is an important explanation to this development. Thus, these two factors, together with decreasing levels of social trust and political participation, constitute substantial threats to American democratic quality.},
  author       = {Harriman, David and Hjelm, Maria},
  keyword      = {United States,state of democracy,democratic quality,participation,liberal and strong democratic ideals,Social sciences,Samhällsvetenskaper,Political and administrative sciences,Statsvetenskap, förvaltningskunskap},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {On Democratic (E)quality in the United States - A Study on Contemporary American Democracy},
  year         = {2006},
}