However,as argued by Koelble and Lipuma (2008), “different histories and culturesproduce different democracies”.
Democracy could be “re-territorialized in localand national contexts” such as the case of post-colonial democracies (Koelbleand Lipuma 2008). The empirical studies mentioned above used predeterminedcategories of democratic conceptualization. Conventional typologies likeprocedural vs substantive or liberal vs economic do not effectively capture thedistinctions between views of democracy.
For example, people may rank economicgrowth as an important aspect of democracy in surveys. Yet it is not clearwhether they see economic growth as essential in a democracy together withother institutions and process or it could be considered a democracy as long asit delivers economic growth. Thus it isimportant to look deeply on the ideas of democracy of the governed through theuse of qualitative measures.Some qualitative studies on definitions ofdemocracy have borrowed methodologies from other disciplines such as discourseanalysis and ethnography from anthropology.
The meaning locals ascribed todemocracy are effectively captured due to the “anthropologist’sethnographic method, their relationships with people outside of formal andelite political institutions, and their attention to alternative worldviews”(Paley 2002). Ethnographic method is frequently used in Africa whereethnographers explore how natives interpret and appropriate democraticprocesses or aspects of Western democracy into their culture. Anthropologicalstudies also try to find linguistic counterparts to democracy. Discourses on democracy will be differentbetween matured, consolidated democracies and democracies with limited to no experience.Authoritarian regimes, often recognizing the normative legitimacy of democracy,could capitalize on alternative discourse of democracy to disguise theirauthoritarian nature and delay democratic transitions. Luand Shi (2015) have argued that before democratic transitions, such as inauthoritarian societies, the battling ideas and discourses must be understoodfirst. Using mainland China as the specific case, they examine two existingdiscourses of democracy: guardianship discourse and liberal democraticdiscourse. The liberal discourse emphasizes the role of political democraticinstitutions which are then avenues for attaining democratic rights for exampleright to elect and to participate.
Contrary to that, the presence of “virtuousand competent political leaders” is the focus of guardianship discourse. Basedfrom the guardianship model of governance put forward by thinkers like Platoand Confucius, it argues that leaders with deeming characteristics should beselected and could be trusted to act in service of the interest of the public(p. 25). These two discourses clash with each other as the guardianshipdiscourse undermines the importance of institutions and “promotes paternalisticmeritocracy in the name of democracy” (p. 36). Lu & Shi then surveyed whichdiscourse Chinese citizens accept.
Results show that guardianship discourse ismore embraced but the liberal discourse is also gaining ground. These battlingdiscourses of democracy are exploited by the Chinese Communist Partyparticularly the guardianship discourse. Even the results of a study done inthe 1990s inidcated that Chinese citizens’ discourse on democracy includesmeritocracy (Peng 1998). Farrelly also demonstrates how discourses of democracyare being used to influence politics using the case of dominant groups in theUK. Using Critical Discourse Analysis as framework, an analysis of textsincluding Labour Party election manifestos and white papers on new mechanismsof participatory governance at the local level revealed that “thediscourse of democracy has become an anti-democratic political tool” (Mulderrig2016).
Prominent leaders have used the language of democracy to justify theiractions and decisions as being done in the name of democracy. The Development of Democracy in the Philippinesand the Role of CongressThePhilippines is chosen for a number of reasons. First, Philippines democratizeduring the third wave of democratization.
Those states that democratize during thisperiod have gained attention as they are characterized to have diverted fromthe Western liberal democracy and are struggling to stabilize democracy.Second, despite the long traditions of democratic rule, it is argued thatPhilippine democracy has not yet consolidated. Democracy is still not the onlygame in town.
Third, the colonial history of the country could play a role inhow democracy is shaped in the minds of the citizens and the ruling elites. Democracyas a form of governance was introduced in the Philippines during the period ofAmerican colonization. Filipinos have not been able to practice governing itsown country during the more than 300-year rule of Spaniards. As with theManifest Destiny, United States has the goal to export democracy to otherstates such as the Philippines. When principles of democracy were imbibed tothe population, the American government planned to give the right toself-determination to the Filipinos. The Philippine Commonwealth of 1935 waspatterned after the democratic constitution of the United States. Democracy wasbeing strengthened in the country but was disrupted when then PresidentFerdinand Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972 and started his dictatorshiprule.
During this time, human rights were violated, Congress was locked down,media was suppressed, the 1935 Constitution was abolished, and freedom wasattacked. The Marcos rule ended after the famous 1986 People Power revolutionwherein people took their struggle to remove Marcos and his family from officeinto the streets. The Cory Aquino administration immediately drafted andratified the 1987 Constitution and comes with it the restoration of democracyin the Philippines.
Despite that, others have argued that true democracy wasnot in place but elite democracy was restored. The political arena is stilldominated by traditional landed elites as well as political families. This is alongside rampantcorruption, weak institutions, patronage politics, powerless political partiesand marginalization of the masses (Dressel 2011). Other scholars have coined terms to describe thekind of democracy found in the country such as Benedicts Anderson’s caciquedemocracy.Therealso have been surveys that measure Filipinos view of democracy.
Asia BarometerSurvey administered Wave 1 of its survey during 2001-2003, Wave 2 in 2005-2008,Wave 3 in 2010-2012 and Wave 4 in2014-2016. Both Wave 1 and 2 employed open-ended questions while Wave 3 and 4used close-ended questions. In the close-ended questions, for each item, respondentswere asked to choose for one of four definitions of democracy corresponding tosocial equity, good governance, norms and procedures and freedom and liberty.At least 3 out of 4 of the respondents in the 2002 survey have been able togive a definition and 64% of it identifies democracy with freedom andliberties. Yet Waves 3 and 4 showed that Filipinos now give more emphasis tosocial equity as essential to democracy.
Freedom and liberty still occupy alarge portion but only follows second to social equity. Animportant feature of democracy is a working legislative branch. The PhilippineCongress served as both an arena and actor in the restoration of democracy inthe Philippines (Caoili 1992). ThePhilippine Legislature underwent series of changes before it arrived in itscurrent bicameral form. Malolos Congress could be said as the first Congress inthe Philippines which was dominated by ilustrados. The Malolos Constitutionalready embodied democratic principles as it has elements of separation ofchurch and state, elections and the Bill of Rights.
During the American colonization, the 1902Cooper Act by the US Congress established a bicameral legislature with thePhilippine Commission as the upper chamber while the elected Philippineassembly will serve as the lower chamber. The 1916 Jones Law furtherstrengthened the role of Filipinos in the Congress. The Philippine Commissionwas replaced by 24 Filipino senators and served as the upper chamber.
Legislators at the time play vital roles as they constitute delegations sent tothe United States to lobby for the Philippine independence. After the Japaneseinvasion in the 1940s, Philippine Congress continued to be a bicameral body butwas weakening as it faces difficulties and poor performance. Congress waslocked down by Marcos and was replaced by the Batasang Pambansa which follows aparliamentary style. The creation of the 1987 Constitution brought back thebicameral legislature and added the party list sector.
Accordingto the 1987 Constitution, the Philippine legislature has legislative powers,executive powers through its members constituting the Commission onAppointments, judicial powers over election of its members, impeachment powers,and diplomatic powers such as declaring state of war and ratification oftreaties. These powers serve as checks and balances among the branches ofgovernment which in turn strengthens democracy. Additionally, the legislativebranch still faces a number of issues. One criticism is that traditional elitesand political families continue to dominate the branch.