- Peter Ferdinand, Peter FerdinandEmeritus Reader in Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick
- Robert GarnerRobert GarnerProfessor of Politics, University of Leicester
- and Stephanie LawsonStephanie LawsonProfessor of Politics and International Studies, Macquarie University
This chapter examines key aspects of democratic theory. It first defines what democracy means and traces the historical evolution of the term, from the time of the ancient Greeks to the French and American revolutions up to the nineteenth-century, when democracy began to take on more popular connotations in theory and practice. The chapter goes on to discuss the debate between advocates of the protective theory and the participatory theory of democracy. It also considers alleged problems with democracy — relating to majoritarianism, its impact on economic efficiency, and its relationship with desired outcomes — before concluding with an analysis of the new directions democratic theory has taken in recent years, including associative, deliberative, cosmopolitan, and ecological versions of democracy.