The Perpetual Crises of Democracy

Issue Date January 2007
Volume 18
Issue 1
Page Numbers 5-11
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Democracy is and always will be in some kind of crisis, for it is constantly redirecting its citizens’ gaze from a more or less unsatisfactory present toward a future of still unfulfilled possibilities. There is in these crises something that belongs to what is best and most distinctive about democracy. For the crises underline democracy’s intrinsic mix of hope and dissatisfaction, its highlighting of a lack that will never be filled. The capacity for hope is the great capacity of democracy, one which under the right circumstances can and should nourish other, more specific capacities that may promote improvements in democratic quality.

About the Author

Guillermo O’Donnell is professor emeritus of political science and senior fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies of the University of Notre Dame and professor of political science at the University of San Martín, Argentina. In 2006, he was the first-ever recipient of the International Political Science Association’s Mattei Dogan Prize for lifetime achievement.

View all work by Guillermo O’Donnell