Democracy is a contested concept. While some perceive it as essentially contested, others observe consensus regarding core assumptions and thus speak of a boundedly contested concept. Such core assumptions relate to democracy as rule by the people and political equality among people. But the common ground is limited. One major difference in understandings of democracy concerns the sphere to which it applies. From a broad perspective, democracy refers to every context in which collectively binding decisions are taken, which includes the family or the workplace. From a narrower perspective, it refers to the form of government within a state. This entry focuses on the latter and provides a brief overview on democracy’s historical roots, normative and empirical democratic theory, and measurements of democracy, and concludes ...

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