By Pasi Ihalainen

ISBN-10: 9004183361

ISBN-13: 9789004183360

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Extra info for Agents of the People

Sample text

Most of the meanings given by different groups to “the people” in various debates are explained by contextual factors; no “democratic” reform was being propounded. Chapters Four and Five return to the British debate after 1771. British parliamentarians’ conceptions of the political role of the people were challenged in this period by the American War of Independence, by domestic calls for parliamentary reform in which representation would be more equally distributed between constituencies and finally by the French Revolution.

4 (London 1763), 247–248; Hampson 1983, 4; Rosanvallon 2000, 23. 27 Urbinati 2006, 7. 28 In the Swedish case, too, we encounter the risk of post-French Revolution meanings of democracy and popular sovereignty being applied in the interpretation of mid-eighteenthcentury texts which could not yet have advocated such ideas. This study focuses on the long-term formation of political concepts through debates in representative bodies and in published literature. It is not my intention to provide normative definitions of democracy or popular sovereignty and apply them to an interpretation of the sources.

Urbinati 2006, 66, according to whom the idea of representative democracy already emerged in France during the second half of 1792. 18 introduction In Dunn’s view, it needed a radical revolution before the history of the modern concept of democracy could begin. Urbinati, like the other two theorists, makes use of eighteenth-century political thinking in her contribution to the theoretical debate on the nature of popular sovereignty, representation and democracy today. She actually turns eighteenth-century authors into participants in a universal debate and objects of criticism in her defence of representative democracy.

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Agents of the People by Pasi Ihalainen


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