The Dēmos still Matters: Bridging the Gap between Political Theory and Democratization Research
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Albion College
Submission date: 2020-01-19
Acceptance date: 2020-12-10
Publication date: 2021-03-22
Polish Sociological Review 2021;213(1):71–86
This paper attempts to bridge the gap between contemporary scholars of democratization and researchers studying the political history of Ancient Greece. Although these two subfields already share important commonalities, they have remained indifferent to each other’s work. I argue that the dēmos can serve as yet another area of convergence between them. The increased dialogue between these two research traditions should enrich scholarly debates in both subfields and it also offers an opportunity to address their methodological drawbacks. Specifically, contemporary democratization research tends to undervalue the significance of ordinary people in the democratization process. Conversely, scholars of the ancient Greek world have a tendency to be enigmatic about their use of research methods, which potentially perpetuates the perception that political theorists engage in anachronistic research. Thus, bridging these two camps offers a real opportunity to enrich them individually, as well as the democratization paradigm that underpins both of them.
I would like to thank Jim Butterfield, Tomas Dosek, Alan Epstein, Emily Hauptmann, Steven M. Smallpage, and Jacinda Swanson for their valuable feedback. I would also like to thank the editor and anonymous reviewers for constructive suggestions.