The Future of Democracy
Can and will democracy survive?
In recent decades, democracies across the world have adopted measures to increase popular involvement in political decisions. Parties have turned to primaries and local caucuses to select candidates; ballot initiatives and referenda allow citizens to enact laws directly; many places now use proportional representation, encouraging smaller, more specific parties rather than two dominant ones. Yet voters keep getting angrier and there is a steady erosion of trust in politicians, parties, and democratic institutions, culminating most recently in major populist victories at the ballot box.
In his recent book Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy from Itself (2018), professor Ian Shapiro (Yale University) argues that devolving power to the grass roots is part of the problem. Efforts to decentralize political decision-making have made governments and especially political parties less effective and less able to address constituents’ long-term interests. To restore confidence in governance, we must restructure our political systems to restore power to the core institution of representative democracy: the political party.
The seminar will be held at Litteraturhuset in Oslo on May 10th 2019 from 9am to 12pm. In addition to professor Shapiro, Jonas Gahr Støre, Øyvind Østerud, Hilde Restad and Geir Lundestad will discuss the relevance of his thought on political parties and the future of democracy with regard to Norway, Europe and the upcoming presidential election in the US.
Ian Shapiro is Sterling Professor of Political Science and Henry R. Luce Director of the MacMillan Center at Yale University. He is known primarily for interventions in debates on democracy and on methods of conducting social science research. In democratic theory, he has argued that democracy’s value comes primarily from its potential to limit domination rather than, as is conventionally assumed, from its operation as a system of participation, representation, or preference aggregation. In debates about social scientific methods, he is chiefly known for rejecting prevalent theory-driven and method-driven approaches in favour of starting with a problem and then devising suitable methods to study it.
09:00-09:10: Welcome remarks by Bernt Hagtvet og Torstein Dale-Åkerlund
09:10-09:45: Ian Shapiro: Responsible Parties. A Method to Save Democracy?
09:45-10:00: Commentary: Jonas Gahr Støre
10:00-10:15: Commentary: Øyvind Østerud
10:15-10:30: Debate and Questions
10:45-11:10: Ian Shapiro: Toward a Civil War? American Parties and the 2020 Election
11:10-11:25: Commentary: Geir Lundestad
11:25-11:40: Commentary: Hilde Restad
11:40-12:00: Debate and Questions