Advanced Democracies and the New Politics

Issue Date January 2004
Volume 15
Issue 1
Page Numbers 124-138
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The popular pressures for reforms of the democratic process have mounted across the OECD nations over the past generation. In response, democratic institutions are changing, evolving, expanding in ways that may alter the structure of the democratic process. These changes include reforms of representative democracy processes, the expansion of direct democracy, and the introduction of new forms of advocacy democracy. Indeed, some observers claim that we are witnessing the most fundamental transformation of the democratic process since the creation of mass democracy in the early 20th Century. This essay first summarizes the institutional reforms that are occurring in advanced industrial democracies. Given these changes, we consider how each of the three modes fulfills Dahl’s criteria for democracy, and how the shifting patterns of democratic access are transforming the relationship between citizens and their political system. This essay is adapted from their edited volume, Democracy Transformed? Expanding Political Opportunities in Advanced Industrial Democracies (Oxford University Press, 2003).

About the Authors

Russell J. Dalton

Russell J. Dalton is professor of political science at the University of California–Irvine and author of The Good Citizen: How the Young Are Reshaping American Politics (2007).

View all work by Russell J. Dalton

Susan E. Scarrow

Susan E. Scarrow is associate professor of political science at the University of Houston.

View all work by Susan E. Scarrow

Bruce E. Cain

Bruce E. Cain is Robson Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the Institute of Governmental Studies.

View all work by Bruce E. Cain