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Chapter: 11th Political Science : Democracy

Definition and types of Democracy

The term ‘Democracy’ is derived from the Greek word as demo means people and cracy is referred as rule.

Democracy


Definition and types of Democracy

 

The term ‘Democracy’ is derived from the Greek word as demo means people and cracy is referred as rule. The concept of democracy in its Greek term comes from “demos and “kratos” meaning “people” and “rule”. Thus the term democracy is Rule by People.

Democracy is one of the most important and well- debated topics in the world since the beginning of the Twentieth Century and it has increased importance in the Twenty-first century. Democracy has been defined in different terms and usage by many philosophers, rulers and scholars from time to time according to the changes taking place in socio-political and economic institutions that were there. Democracy encompasses the powerful concepts of Rights, Freedom defined in Liberty, Equality and Fraternity all religions.

The concept and practice of Democracy in the Modern period evolved in Britain, although it’s ancient concept and practice was in Ancient Greece.


Democracy is based on the type of the social system of the country or nation. The social system determines the type and working of democracy. Democracy is important for creating Liberty and Equality that are adopted to bring equality in the unequal society based on political and institutional mechanisms. Democracy has become the most popular form of government and universally regarded as a meaningful political concept in the world in the present period.

The spread of Democracy in began in the world in different countries from the beginning of the Twentieth-century.


As a concept and a system of government, Democracy is an instrument of expression of free speech.

 

Characteristics of Democracy

 

a.           Democracy is a set of principles and practices that protect human freedom.

 

b.           Democracy rests upon the principles of majority rule, along with individual and minority rights.

 

c.            Democracies as a system guard against all-powerful central governments and it decentralizes government to regional and local levels. The right of the people to demand the Government they elected and the duty of the Government to be accessible and responsive to their needs and demands is the main function.

 

d.           One of the primary functions of Democracies is to protect such basic Human Rights i) Equality before Law, ii) Equal Protection before Law iii) Freedom of Speech, iv) Freedom of Religion; vii) Right to organize and participate fully in the political, economic, and cultural life of society.

 

e.            Democracies conduct regular free and fair elections open to all citizens.

 

f.             Democracy subjects governments to the Rule of Law and it ensures that all citizens receive equal protection under the law and that their rights are protected by the Legal-constitutional system.


g.           Democracies are diverse political systems, reflecting each nation’s unique political, social, and cultural life.


h.   Democracy ensures the citizens to participate in the political system and it protects their rights and freedoms.

 

i.   Democratic societies are committed to the values of tolerance, cooperation, and consensus.

 

j.   In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.”

 

k.   Democracy is a system of government in which power and civic responsibility are exercised by all citizens, directly or through their freely elected representatives.

Democracy underlines the Principle of Rule by the people. It ensures a form of government in which all the citizens of a nation determine public policy, the laws, and the actions of their state together either in a Direct Democracy or by Representative Democracy. Democracy ensures that all citizens have an equal opportunity to express their opinion. Democracy is generally defined as “government by the people; that form of government in which the sovereign power resides in the people as a whole, and is exercised either directly by them or by officers elected by them.”

 

Types of Democracy

Democracy by its function has different scope and importance.

 

i)             Political Democracy

 

ii)          Social Democracy

 

iii)        Industrial Democracy

 

iv)        Economic Democracy

 

v)          Totalitarian Democracy

 

vi)        Radical Democracy

 

vii)     Plebiscitary Democracy

 

i. Political Democracy

 

Political democracy feature's the popular participation of citizens in government by which citizens elect their representatives to the Legislature of the state. The elected representatives are accountable to the citizens who elected them. As a political system of government, Democracy works either as a function by the direct involvement of the citizens in making laws and the elected legislators would introduce it in the Legislature. This is known as the process of Popular Initiative. Similarly, when the legislators elected by the people frame legislation, it is approved by a popular vote that is based on popular acceptance of the laws. This is known as Popular Referendum.

 

The second type of Democracy is the Representative system of Democracy in which the elected representatives of the people (representative democracy)are elected for a term of office who determine public policy on behalf of the people. Political Democracy by Representative system of democracy is the dominant form of Democracy all over the world, whereas the Direct Democracy is practiced in the Federal Republic of Switzerland.

 

ii. Social Democracy

 

Social Democracy is a combination of social, economic and political ideas that supports economic and social policies. It promotes social equality and social justice giving strength to economy and representative and participatory democracy. Social Democracy is based on the principle of Social equality in all aspects of gender, status, beliefs, values and customs. Alexis De` Tocqueville the eminent French thinker praised the American political system as one of the true democracies as it did not believe and encourage feudalism.

Social Democracy believes strongly in Equality of opportunity and equality in freedom as the basis of human rights and life in a Democracy. Social Democracy enabled the individual through hard work and effort to succeed and excel.

 

Social Democracy believed in the progress of equality as progress of liberty and the progress of liberty as the greatest progress of Democracy in a state.

 

iii.Industrial Democracy

 

Industrial democracy is defined as the means to promote democratic principles in industry and labour by the provision and protection of Labour Rights and Responsibilities in the workplace.

 

Industrial democracy encourages the participation of labour in decision making along with the management. Industrial democracy promotes dignity and decency of labour and paves way for better efficiency, harmony and unity of purposes of the management and labour.

 

Industrial democracy enables the workers participate actively in the process of building both community and individual interests for the collective good of the society and state.

 

Industrial democracy empowers workers as partners in the industry calling for their joint efforts to build community interests and welfare

 

Industrial democracy paves for the development and growth of the country through better productivity and greater harmony

 

iv. Economic Democracy

 

Economic democracy is defined as the process of creating democratic conditions of economic productivity, minimising the rich-poor gap and socio-economic differences, promoting affordable economic development and the ideal of creating greater equality among various classes.

 

Economic democracy believes in “workplace democracy” and “employee ownership” that is intended to promote equality and democratic redistribution of wealth.

 

Economic democracy believes in the ability of the social system to integrate and society and economy for the betterment of human economic freedom and dignity. Economic democracy believes in social welfare and development as priority. and decency of labour and paves way for better efficiency, harmony and unity of purposes of the management and labour.

 

Industrial democracy enables the workers participate actively in the process of building both community and individual interests for the collective good of the society and state.

 

Industrial democracy empowers workers as partners in the industry calling for their joint efforts to build community interests and welfare

 

Industrial democracy paves for the development and growth of the country through better productivity and greater harmony

 

iv. Economic Democracy

 

Economic democracy is defined as the process of creating democratic conditions of economic productivity, minimising the rich-poor gap and socio-economic differences, promoting affordable economic development and the ideal of creating greater equality among various classes.

 

Economic democracy believes in “workplace democracy” and “employee ownership” that is intended to promote equality and democratic redistribution of wealth.

 

Economic democracy believes in the ability of the social system to integrate and society and economy for the betterment of human economic freedom and dignity. Economic democracy believes in social welfare and development as priority. Economic democracy is based on the importance of economic rights and social equality.

 

v. Totalitarian Democracy


Totalitarian Democracy is known as populist democracy or mass democracy in which Citizens after electing the representatives have no voice in decision-making, but the elected representatives decide for the entire country. Totalitarian Democracy elevates the ruler, party and the elected legislators over the voting citizens and captures power through democratic means but runs as dictatorship. The political ideology of the ruler, party and the legislators becomes dominant over people interests. Totalitarian democracy in the name of people’s rights would use internal terror against certain sections of people and also speech restrictions to keep the population under its complete control. 

 

Totalitarian democracy would have complete control of the economy of the state and would use it to control the population.

 

vi. Radical Democracy

 

Radical Democracy was proposed by M.N.Roy a leading Indian political thinker who believed in “real rule” of the people for the term of office to which the legislators are elected. Radical democracy supports the idea of direct accountability of the legislators and executive to the people during the term of office. Radical Democracy believed in the humanism of the people who are the real masters of political authority and power and not the elected legislators.

Radical Democracy believed in the “power of the people” in local communities known as local republics who would join in the creation of the state and government. The local republics would finally exercise authority in the national and state levels.

 

Radical democracy brings into Democracy the real sense of people’s participation, accountability of the elected and the power of the people to change the government.

 

vii. Plebiscitary Democracy

 

Plebiscitary Democracy is defined as the process of a direct voting by the people of a candidate, or party or a public issue or the adoption of a new constitution of a state or to determine the association of the province with the state known as national self-determination. The voters have the choice to accept or reject the choice.

 

 

Plebiscitary democracy gives the citizens the right and power to collect a sizeable number of signatures on a petition to draft a law or a public policy programme and put the proposal or draft law to vote by the citizen population

 

Plebiscitary democracy can by a collection of signatures could result in the recall of the elected representative because of failure to represent the real interests of the people.


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11th Political Science : Democracy : Definition and types of Democracy |


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