by Tessa Coombes, PhD Researcher at Bristol University
For the final plenary session of the conference Prof. Andrew Gamble, from Cambridge University, took us back to the issue of democracy and its ability to survive and even thrive. We were reminded that for the first time in the modern state system authoritarian regimes are in retreat and representative democracy, in some form or other, is on the rise.
Representative liberal democracies have been described as the least admirable form of governance not least because of their inability to take difficult decisions and their short term thinking. Despite this, in the 20th century, representative democracy came to be seen as an ideal state. But it now seems we are in a time of transition, where there is a real disengagement and disillusionment with mainstream politics, where the choice is narrowing and where people are indifferent to their right to vote. This crisis of representative politics reflects a crisis of trust in our politics and politicians. Once more, despite this process, representative democracy Continue reading Can democracy survive?→
Existing research suggests that administrative traditions reflect state-society relations, democratic style and level of centralisation. Four key traditions are reflected within the countries studied, which include the:
Napoleonic tradition – characterised by a strong centralised state and antagonism between the state and society (e.g. France)
organicist tradition – characterised by a federated state and co-operative state–society relations (e.g. Germany)
Anglo-Saxon tradition – characterised by a mixed form of state and pluralist state–society relations (e.g. the UK) and,
Scandinavian tradition, which combines the organicist and Anglo-Saxon traditions (e.g. Norway).
In addition, we thought it was important to consider developments in public sector management and reform in different countries and the potential for EU influence in developing citizen participation.