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Concepts though expressed by the words are not merely
words. Concepts are the representations of the ideas about the world around us.
A conceptual analysis is the process of clarifying the meaning of an idea or a
concept. Frank Jackson contends that conceptual analysis is required as a
fundamental segment of so-called serious metaphysics and that it also does
explanatory work in representing such phenomena as categorization, meaning change,
communication, and linguistic understanding. According to Milos Kosterec the
aim of the conceptual analysis is to examine the place of a concept in the
conceptual network of a language or a theory.

and Etymological analysis. Often
scholars undergo harsh discussions over the definitions of the concepts. It is
difficult to identify which definitions are the rights or wrongs. At most
people can agree on preferred or dominant definitions of concepts but even
these usually change over time being affected by the new social economic
political or cultural realities.

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The original and traditional definition of the
democracy is rule by the people. Antique democracy also known as direct
democracy was a form of political regime in which people decided policy
initiatives directly. It should be noted though that Plato “by the people”
meant the government by the poor and uneducated against the rich and educated. Simply
because the scope of the population cannot empower each citizen to rule
directly different concepts such as representative democracy (is one in which
people fairly and freely elect their representatives who are accountable to
them) were found to describe new types of democracy. Another type of democracy
which is considered one of the most successful democracies evolved because of the
concerns about the idea that life should be “fair’. Social democracy is a
political system that supports economic and social interventions in the general
interest aimed at promotion of social justice.

Democracy is an essentially contested concept, because
social scientists do not have commonly accepted understanding on how democratic
governance should be initiated and maintained. W.B. Gallie introduced the term
essentially contested concept, explaining that people mean different things
when using the same word. Ideal democracy described by the Dahl for example
finds democratic regime as a combination of the following features: effective
participation, equality in voting, informed electorate, citizen’s control of
the agenda, inclusion and the fundamental rights (“equal and effective
opportunities for learning about relevant alternative policies and their likely
Joseph Schumpeter on the other hand gives a more minimalist definition of
democracy stating that democracy can be achieved through competition among
leadership groups, which vie for the electorate’s support during periodic
elections before a wide electorate. Parties and elections in Schumpeterian
Democracy play a substantial role in this largely procedural account of the
democratic process. Huntington’s approach on Democracy is more pessimistic one.
“The efficient working of a democratic political system”, as he states,
“requires a certain lack of activity or interest of a number of individuals or
groups.” “Just as there are desirable limits to economic growth”, he continues,
“so there are potentially desirable limits to the indefinite expansion of
political democracy.”2  

the concept by relating it to a broader concept and theory. Ledyaev in his Power:
A conceptual analysis emphasizes three main functions of social concepts
which determine their role in theoretical studies and empirical research. “First”,
as he notes, “concepts are basic units of theories, they accumulate and
transmit a substantial part of our knowledge of the real world and make
possible its description and explanation.”3 Political
regime can be said a broader concept in which democracy as a concept can be
derived from. Political regime in my understanding is the way in which a
country is governed, how government is organized and how the government make
policies. The construction of democracy is important because, in my opinion
democracy is the best political regime which 1) prevents the people who hold
power abusing it and using it for their own gain (keeping rulers from becoming
a tyrants); 2) protects the freedom of the people as individuals and 3)
protects the interests and demands of people while policy-making. Due to these
reasons there are several democratization theories which tries to explain what
affects the foundation of democracy as a political regime and how to sustain

Modernization theory introduced by Lipset draws a
positive correlation between democracy and socio-economic development. The
basic idea here is that economic development leads to development of democracy.
Economic development creates much more complex societies than the sort of
peasant societies in the distant past, which makes it much more difficult for
dictators to keep tabs on everyone. “The more well-to-do a nation, the greater
the chances that it will sustain democracy” (Lipset 1959). To demonstrate the
validity of his theory Lipset proposes 5 different indicators through which
socio-economic development of the state can be assessed, which in turn as he
defends lead to the installation of democracy. Those indicators are – increased
standard of living (per capita income, access to medical care etc.), access to
communication media, industrialization, increased level of educations (literacy
and formal education) and urbanization.

the concept from other elements: Different elements of the democracy can be detected from the
conceptualization of democracy.

The rule of law: No one in a democracy is above the law, not even a
king or an elected President and everyone is subject to the law. “High-quality democracy requires a truly democratic rule
of law that ensures political rights, civil liberties, and mechanisms of
accountability which in turn affirm the political equality of all citizens and
constrain potential abuses of state power” (O’Donnell 2004).
          Political participation: Political
participation does not merely imply voting for a new congressman. It goes
beyond that involving serving on a jury, which ensures that people who are
charged with a crime are judged by people like them; conducting public protests
with the hope that your actions will influence initiate change in a particular
area of politics and engage in public consultations in order to make your
opinions and feelings known.
          Freedom: Freedoms are related to the
fundamental human rights. Three types of rights can be distinguished here:
political (to vote, to run for the office), civil rights (freedom of movement,
freedom of religion and right to form and join organizations) and socioeconomic
(rights to private property and entrepreneurship). No single person
articulating his or her opinion (freedom of expression) should fear of being
dismissed, prosecuted or even kidnapped in a truly democratic climate.
          Equality: It simply means involving
everyone, no matter who they are. “Many of the
previous dimensions imply or require—and the very word democracy commonly
symbolizes—the formal political and legal equality of all citizens. Equality is
an ideal that is never perfectly achieved, even in strictly political terms.”4

Although there is less agreement among political
scientists about when the political regime can be considered as democratic,
authors put forward different measurements of democracy. As Charles Hauss for
example writes “we do not think that
democracy has truly taken root until at least three national elections have been held. Another
criterion raised by many experts is the peaceful
transfer of power from one political party or coalition to the former opposition.
Such a transition is critical because it indicates that the major political
forces in a country are prepared to settle their disputes without violence and
to accept that they will all spend periods of time out of office.”5



Charles Hauss (2003) Democratization available at:

Gianranco Pasquino (2009) Samuel P. Huntington: Political order and the Clash of Civilizations

G. O’Donnell (2004) Why the rule of law matters? Journal of Democracy Volume 15, Number
4, pp. 32-46

Larry Diamond and Leonardo Morlino (2004) An overview: The Quality of Democracy

Robert Dahl (2006) On
Political Equality Yale University Press

Valeri Ledyaev (1998) Power: A Conceptual Analysis NY Press

W.B. Gallie (1995-1996) Essentially Contested Concepts: Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society
Vol. 56, pp. 167-198 Wiley Press



1 Robert Dahl (2006) On Political Equality

2 Gianranco Pasquino Samuel P. Huntington: Political order and
the Clash of Civilizations

3 Valeri Ledyaev (1998) Power: A Conceptual Analysis NY Press.

4 Larry Diamond and Leonardo
Morlino (2004) An overview: The Quality
of Democracy

5 Charles Hauss (2003) Democratization 

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