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Constituting the dêmoi democratically

Number 50
Project Number IP 2 (Phase II): Designing "demoicracy" in Europe
Author(s) Cheneval, Francis
Current draft June 2011
Abstract The original constitution of the dêmos by democratic means (dêmos problem) is a fundamental problem for normative democratic theory. In this paper, I make an assessment of different solutions to the dêmos problem that have been presented in recent literature. I find that none of them is adequate, and thus hold that the dêmos problem remains unresolved. At the end of the paper, I propose a constellation in which multiple dêmoi are thought to be constituted at the same time. I show that this leads to a mitigation of the negative consequences that are implied in the proposed solutions analysed in previous parts of the paper. Constituting the dêmos according to the democ-ratic ideal is more expedient under the conditions of a large number of individuals having the option to form a plurality of dêmoi. This overall conclusion means that the democratic legitimacy of the dêmos itself is critically dependent on a relational setting of relatively open but independent dêmoi. The relations between dêmoi and the freedom of movement among them is thus not something which is added to ideal democratic theory as an external and foreign element reducing the legiti-macy of a democracy. Rather, the norm that states that there should be multiple dêmoi that openly relate to each other is actually part of the hard core of democratic legitimacy.
Keywords Demos problem, normative democratic theory, all affected interests principle, all subjected principle.
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