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Lua Nova: Revista de Cultura e Política

versión impresa ISSN 0102-6445


LAVALLE, Adrian Gurza  y  VERA, Ernesto Isunza. The conceptual web of democratic critique: from participation to representation and accountability. Lua Nova [online]. 2011, n.84, pp.95-139. ISSN 0102-6445.

In the last decades there has been a surprising conceptual shift between the role of three concepts - political representation, participation and accountability - in the internal criticism of democracy. This article sheds light on that shift by examining the reciprocal redefi nition of meaning between those concepts and the shape of a new conceptual network for democratic critique. Nowadays, internal critique of democracy has been developed from the stand point of representation theories, which used to be traditionally related to the defense of democracy. Participatory democracy models, once the main stand point for criticizing democracy, either lost influence or where integrated to more sophisticated deliberative democratic models. We argue that this state of affairs is due to a conceptual worthy dissociation between representative government and political representation. This dissociation works under democratic and pluralistic assumptions, thus, it is sensible to legitimacy challenges faced by extra-parliamentary political representation. In this scenario, accountability appears as a normative concept useful for dealing with those challenges. We argue as well that the democratic critical leverage of the concept of participation relied on historical circumstances that are not longer in place, rendering standard defi nitions of participation inaccurate for the understanding of ongoing experiences of democratic innovation.

Palabras clave : Pluralisation of representation; participation; accountability; democratic critique; civil society.

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