Mark Chou, Jean-Paul Gagnon
2017 Democratic Theory  
Recent years have seen democratic governments face a variety of challenges from both within and without. Endogenously, many established democracies have become pockmarked by factionalism, polarization, fearmongering, and populism. Exogenously, democratic institutions' effectiveness is now frequently called into question by the rise of autocratic powers and a range of never-before-experienced global crises that have exposed democracy's many shortcomings. Against this backdrop there have been
more » ... spread calls to ensure that democracies and their institutions become more epistocratic and adept at including the interests of aff ected individuals so that the factionalism and polarization leading to populist backlashes can be averted. This issue of Democratic Theory draws together several key contributions to these important ongoing debates. The fi rst article by Carlo Invernizzi-Accetti mounts a critique of the currently prominent push to ensure majoritarian institutions have the epistemtic capacity to discover and implement an objective standard of normative truth. For Invernizzi-Accetti, implementing epistemic safeguards is unnecessary and undesirable because, he contends, it confl icts with three key democratic values: autonomy, inclusion, and pluralism. At a time when both scholars and media commentators have highlighted citizens' ignorance and democratic institutions' inability to promote political knowledge, this is an important counter-argument that underscores the value of democratic proceduralism. The second article by Robert Farneti explores the shift from fractionalization to polarization in democratic theory and the epistemic leap scholars make from the realm of facts to the realm of normative problems. His article thus engages with polarization as the normative cause of a normative problem. Drawing on mimetic theory, he makes the case for polarity as the fundamental structure of politics. Next, Leif Lewin's article explores the relationship between corporatism in global politics and aff ected interests. As he notes, given the important roles NGOs play in the global arena, it is essential to develop a conceptual framework for understanding who is aff ected and how they can be represented. The fi nal research article by Amit Ron also explores the politics of democratic institutions, but for him it is their potential to include and
doi:10.3167/dt.2017.040201 fatcat:bbpsvz3lg5bnffg5wjhvfm5hv4