Democracy and its Discontents: Why representative democracy is in crisis today and how to respond


  • Mona Noé Maastricht University





Today the modern representative democracy based on the rule of the people is facing various challenges pointing at a state of crisis. Apart from an ongoing political debate about the theoretical concept, recent empirical data indicate that the traditional relation between the political system and the citizens is problematic as well. The overall research question is the following: Why is representative democracy in crisis and how should it be reconsidered and reformed? The political debate on the democratic model is structured in two forms of criticism to support the claim that the representative democracy needs to be rethought. First, theoretical criticism of Schumpeter, Green, Chomsky, Crouch and Brown is presented. Second, contemporary critics are Brennan and Tormey. Basis for this analysis is the social and political situation in Germany. Key terms are consumerism and the media, social inequality, public disappointment, distrust, disinterest, lack of political knowledge and the rise of populism. Several alternative responses to the crisis are evaluated. The first is an alternative perspective on the role of the citizen whereas the second calls to replace democracy with a form of epistocracy. This chapter develops a set of recommendations on how to respond to the crisis of representative democracy.

Author Biography

Mona Noé, Maastricht University

Student at the University of Potsdam; Politics, Adminstration and Philosophie