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Alien Notion - Intrinsic Equality in Contemporary Japan

Back, Kristina (2005)
Department of Political Science
Abstract
Abstract

Democracy is, in essence, political equality. Egalitarian government appears incompatible with a hierarchically organized society. Yet there are countries today where the two coexist. The theoretical focus of this study is the principle of intrinsic equality ? the belief that in a democratically governed state equal consideration should be given to all citizens. Can a widely consolidated belief in this principle be present in a democratic nation where society is organized along hierarchical lines? This question is investigated in the form of a case-study of Japan, a long-term, successful democracy located outside the Western cultural hemisphere. Empirical material from multi-disciplinary sources is used, as it provides a fuller... (More)
Abstract

Democracy is, in essence, political equality. Egalitarian government appears incompatible with a hierarchically organized society. Yet there are countries today where the two coexist. The theoretical focus of this study is the principle of intrinsic equality ? the belief that in a democratically governed state equal consideration should be given to all citizens. Can a widely consolidated belief in this principle be present in a democratic nation where society is organized along hierarchical lines? This question is investigated in the form of a case-study of Japan, a long-term, successful democracy located outside the Western cultural hemisphere. Empirical material from multi-disciplinary sources is used, as it provides a fuller panorama of the case. The theoretical foundation is the empirically valid assumption that formally institutionalized democracies develop a consolidated belief in the principle of intrinsic equality, while informally institutionalized democracies are less likely to. The case study design consists of a broad examination of Dahl's six necessary democratic institutions for large-scale representative democracies. Each democratic institution is investigated as to whether it is primarily formally or informally institutionalized. The study reveals that Japan is a primarily informally institutionalized democracy, indicating that a consolidated belief in intrinsic equality has yet to develop.

Keywords: Japan, democratic theory, intrinsic equality, formal institutionalization, informal institutionalization

Characters: 84,910 (Less)
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@misc{1333553,
  abstract     = {Abstract

Democracy is, in essence, political equality. Egalitarian government appears incompatible with a hierarchically organized society. Yet there are countries today where the two coexist. The theoretical focus of this study is the principle of intrinsic equality ? the belief that in a democratically governed state equal consideration should be given to all citizens. Can a widely consolidated belief in this principle be present in a democratic nation where society is organized along hierarchical lines? This question is investigated in the form of a case-study of Japan, a long-term, successful democracy located outside the Western cultural hemisphere. Empirical material from multi-disciplinary sources is used, as it provides a fuller panorama of the case. The theoretical foundation is the empirically valid assumption that formally institutionalized democracies develop a consolidated belief in the principle of intrinsic equality, while informally institutionalized democracies are less likely to. The case study design consists of a broad examination of Dahl's six necessary democratic institutions for large-scale representative democracies. Each democratic institution is investigated as to whether it is primarily formally or informally institutionalized. The study reveals that Japan is a primarily informally institutionalized democracy, indicating that a consolidated belief in intrinsic equality has yet to develop.

Keywords: Japan, democratic theory, intrinsic equality, formal institutionalization, informal institutionalization

Characters: 84,910},
  author       = {Back, Kristina},
  keyword      = {Japan,democratic theory,intrinsic equality,formal institutionalization,informal institutionalization,Social sciences,Samhällsvetenskaper,Political and administrative sciences,Statsvetenskap, förvaltningskunskap},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Alien Notion - Intrinsic Equality in Contemporary Japan},
  year         = {2005},
}