Edited by Heinrich Best, University of Jena, Germany and John Higley, University of Texas
Joseph Schumpeter's “competitive theory of democracy” – often labeled democratic elitism - has struck many as an apt and insightful description of how representative democracy works, even though convinced democrats detect an elitist thrust they find disturbing. But neither Schumpeter nor subsequent defenders of democratic elitism have paid enough attention to actual behaviors of leaders and elites. Attention has been riveted on how adequately democratic elitism captures the relationship between governors and governed in its insistence that competitive elections prevent the relationship from being one-way, that is, leaders and elites largely unaccountable to passive and submissive voters. Why and how leaders and elites create and sustain competitive elections, what happens if their competitions become excessively stage-managed or belligerent – how, in short, leaders and elites really act - are some of the issues this book addresses.
Contributors are Heinrich Best, Jens Borchert, Michael Edinger, Fredrik Engelstad, Trygve Gulbrandsen, John Higley, Gabriella Ilonszki, András Körösényi, Mindaugas Kuklys, Gyorgy Lengyel, Anton Steen, and Jacek Wasilewski.