What is democratic theory?
Democratic Theory will mark the 40-year anniversary of James Alfred Pennock’s book Democratic Political Theory with a special issue encompassing a chorus of voices striving to define democratic theory in its plurality, demarcate its boundaries, and reflect on both the makings and workings of democratic theorists. Our intention is to take a democratic approach to this undertaking by inviting shorter than usual submissions (3,000 – 3,500-word arguments), which will be published as a peerreviewed symposium in one to two issues of Democratic Theory.
We welcome submissions from scholars working in different democratic traditions and from a range of academic disciplines. Submissions from scholars in the Global South and from non-English-speaking backgrounds are especially encouraged. It is also our ambition to achieve gender parity among the authors participating in the symposium.
Colleagues are invited to address the following questions or ones like them:
- What is democratic theory?
- Is there such a thing as democratic theory? As Robert Dahl wrote in his Preface to Democratic Theory, there is no theory of democracy, only democratic theories…
- What distinguishes democratic theory from political theory and/or political science? What is the democratic theorist to do? What is the role of the democratic theorist?
- What makes a theorist of democracy? How does one become a democratic theorist? Who is and who is not a theorist of democracy?
- What is the history or genealogy of democratic theory?
- What is the role of models of democracy? Is model thinking to be overcome or does it have a purpose in democratic theory? What are the alternatives to models of democracy?
- Is democratic theory a recent, or ‘just becoming’, field of study? Or, is democratic theory a field destined to be (perhaps always) on the margins?