Course level: Graduate

also in 2020; 2021 (Fall term)
Goethe University Frankfurt

This course surveys contemporary scholarship in anglophone democratic theory, focusing on questions and debates relating to the idea and practice of representative democracy. The course introduces participants to the most prominent justifications and conceptions of democracy (minimalist, aggregative, deliberative, republican, and agonistic); it explores the concept of representation as well as radical critiques of representation; and it studies the normative purposes of political elections. The course further examines debates on the use of legislative quotas and reserved seats for ensuring representation to particular groups; it scrutinises the normative functions of political parties, and the course finally looks at institutional proposals and practices that promise to foster representation and political participation without, or beyond, electoral politics.

In addition to enhancing participants’ general reading, writing, and critical-thinking skills,  the course will enable students reconstruct, interpret, and assess some of the most central positions, arguments, and debates in contemporary democratic theory.