Monthly Archives: February 2010

Three basic issues

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Every day and in a variety of situations, decisions are made that affect many people. When should the decision-making process be democratic and what does that mean

To answer that question, this theoretical background presents an ABC of democracy. The model is general – it applies at every level, from small groups to global organisations such as the United Nations – and consists of three stages:

A. First of all, get a clear idea of the two alternatives to democracy
B. This gives a sounder basis for arriving at democracy’s fundamental principles
C. If the democratic alternative is chosen, there is the question of how to put it into practice.

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Posted in ABC of Democracy, Background, na

Peter & Paul and the alternatives

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Purpose

  • use a dilemma to bring out the difference between binding decisions and voluntary negotiations
  • elucidate the alternatives to a democratic process – guardianship or anarchy – and how they are often closer to hand than a democratic arrangement

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Posted in ABC of Democracy, Applications

Association

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Purpose

Give the participants an opportunity to:

  • apply democracy’s preconditions and basic principles to themselves

  • reflect on what it means to form a democratic association

  • experience the tension between the principles of Equal consideration and Personal autonomy in a Hot seat session

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Posted in ABC of Democracy, Applications, na

A democratic platform

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Purpose

Get the participants to:

  • decide on a joint, democratic platform

  • compare their platform with the criteria for democracy
  • assess the degree to which their own decision-making process was democratic

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Posted in ABC of Democracy, Applications, na

The Academy for Democracy

 The Academy for Democracy is a network of organizations focusing on civic training and educational programmes in the field of democracy and human rights.

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Posted in General

About Democratic Challenges

Democratic Challenges adresses primarily participants in the activities of the Academy for Democracy who are looking for a more comprehensive background and want to apply the methods in their organisations. The material was produced for a Swedish context but has turned out to be applicable and appreciated internationally, too; hence this multilingual Internet version.

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Posted in General

Demometer

Test your organisation with the DEMOMETER

You will be asked to take a stand on 10 propositions regarding your organization.

When all questions are answered you will get a compilation of your answers.

demometer 1 motometer 1
Organisation Meetings
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Posted in Demometer

Demometer organisation

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Posted in Demometer Organisation

Demometer meetings

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Posted in Demometer Meetings

Democratic management

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In this background we:

  • compare different types of organisation in terms of the ABC model’s alternative forms of rule and see which fundamental values have priority
  • compare the extent to which different types of organisation meet the Lifebuoy’s criteria for democracy
  • consider the possibilities for democratic management of meetings in different types of organisations

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Posted in Background

A fairly democratic country

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Free elections, freedom of expression and other institutionalised rights are usually mentioned as indicators that certain countries are democratic. By the standards of the ABC model, however, even those countries do not match the democratic ideal. Still, these large-scale, representative systems have crossed a crucial threshold and therefore deserve to be called ‘fairly democratic’. Here we consider how this common view of democracy, based on rights, compares with the ABC model. We shall:

  • compare the ABC model’s basic criteria for democracy with the usual indicators of a fairly democratic (FD) country
  • list the political institutions which the indicators imply. They are based on the human rights that are laid down in the UN Declaration
  • arrange the FD institutions around the Lifebuoy and see how they compare with the ABC model’s criteria for democracy. By the standards of those criteria, countries cannot be more than fairly democratic
  • consider the political changes that are needed for a successful transition to FD rule and distinguish the FD institutions from a similar set of institutionalised rights that ensures rule of law in a country.
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Posted in Background, National Level

Civil society and democracy

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It is a common view – shared for instance by the Swedish International Development Authority, SIDA – that a strong civil society is essential for a country’s democratic development.  A model which divides society into four sectors is used in this background to consider three reasons why the civil sector is important for democracy:

  • the civil sector is an arena for independent organisations
  • it generates confidence
  • it is an arena for democratic processes.
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Posted in Background

Global, regional or intergovernmental?

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Many important political issues can no longer be succesfully tackled at the national level. The greenhouse effect, for example, is affecting people all over the world. Which international bodies are there that can deal with matters of this transnational kind? In this background we shall:

  • use the chart of alternative forms of rule to examine some intergovernmental and global organisations that have been set up for this purpose
  • consider the EU countries as an example of mixed rule – certain matters are decided at the national level; others are referred to the regional level
  • study the extent to which some global organisations in the FN family meet the criteria for democracy
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Posted in Background, International Level, na

International law and the UN

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In this background we:

  • present a review of international law and the threats to it from the boundless war on terrorism
  • describe the UN’s role in an effective system for human rights
  • conclude with examining the role of democracy’s fundamental principles in the work of strengthening the present system of rights.
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Posted in Background, HR and Democracy

Democracy’s two faces

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Purpose

  • Examine the group’s attitudes to democracy

  • Give the participants a chance of airing mixed feelings in two Four corners discussions

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Posted in ABC of Democracy, Applications