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political theory

December 8, 2021

🦋 Data mountains and usable concepts: a lesson from Francis Bacon

Sandra Leonie Field Scholars of democracy must look beyond received paradigms. With his democracy 'data mountain', Jean-Paul Gagnon is challenging us to do so. However, drawing on Francis Bacon's analogous project for natural science, Sandra Leonie Field wonders whether a database of adjectives is indeed the best method of reaching this goal Read more
November 29, 2021

🦋 To understand democracy we need democratic theory

Tom Theuns Tom Theuns argues Jean-Paul Gagnon’s ‘data mountain’ project cannot achieve its goals because of fundamental problems of over-inclusion and under-inclusion, problems that can only be solved by recourse to democratic theory. But that is not to say that the project is without value Read more
November 25, 2021

🦋 On different ways to intend democracy, and to study it

Andrea Felicetti Andrea Felicetti writes that Gagnon’s data mountain is not a guarantee against biases and partiality. In addition to words, we must pay attention to people, their customs and practices, to better grasp what democracy entails Read more
November 19, 2021

🦋 Democracy: not just what but also why

Martyn Hammersley Martyn Hammersley argues that, since there is no essence of democracy, clarification is always required when this word is used. And any assumption that what it refers to is always desirable must be questioned: in each context, we should ask ‘Why democracy?’ as well as ‘What is democracy?’ Read more
November 11, 2021

🦋 Lost in translation? Democracy and its non-English variants

Ryusaku Yamada Based on English language terms, Jean-Paul Gagnon’s democracy data mountain faces considerable problems in translating non-English words which have no exact equivalents. Ryusaku Yamada uses the example of ‘mass’ (as in ‘mass democracy’), and a Japanese word, ‘taishū’, to reveal the potential comprehension gap in any translation exercise Read more
November 5, 2021

🦋 Democracy is an essentially contested concept

Norma Osterberg-Kaufmann To strengthen democracy, we need new, innovative thinking, write Norma Osterberg-Kaufmann, Toralf Stark and Christoph Mohamad-Klotzbach. They propose to identify the core norms underlying a universally valid concept of democracy, opening up dialogue between empirical and theoretical approaches, and linking inductive and deductive methods Read more
November 1, 2021

🦋 Wikis and music, not mountains and butterflies

Luke Temple Wikis and music are better analogies for Jean-Paul Gagnon’s data mountain than butterflies, writes Luke Temple. Our reflections on how to use his database, not the database in itself, will contribute to democratic innovation Read more
October 29, 2021

In a democracy, does every vote count?

Costas Panayotakis Costas Panayotakis analyses the popular claim that 'every vote counts' in a democracy. He finds it is based on false assumptions and a misunderstanding of statistical probability. Voting and democratic participation, he concludes, are not based on individualistic self-interest but on some degree of idealism and solidarity Read more

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Advancing Political Science
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