The Constitution Unit

Ideas of Democracy

Episode Summary

This episode of 'UCL Uncovering Politics' focuses on contemporary ideas of democracy. What kinds of democratic system do people want? And what understandings of democracy underpin them?

Episode Notes

Democracy is what one social scientist once famously called an ‘essentially contested concept’ – one that we are never likely all to agree about. And disagreements over the form that democracy should take have lately sparked major political conflicts in many democratic countries. How far were politicians in the UK obliged to follow the so-called ‘will of the people’ as expressed in the Brexit referendum of 2016? Can the strongman democracy pursued by leaders in Hungary, India, and Brazil be called ‘democracy’ at all? And what should we make of contemporary arguments in favour of bringing more public deliberation into our democratic processes?

Questions such as these have prompted a new research project recently launched by the Unit called 'Democracy in the UK after Brexit'. Led by Dr Alan Renwick, working alongside Professors Meg Russell and Ben Lauderdale, the project will explore how people in the UK conceive of democracy and what kinds of democratic arrangement they prefer. 

Host: Professor Jennifer Hudson

Guests: Dr Alan Renwick, Professor Albert Weale and Professor Meg Russell.