Democratic Spectatorship beyond Plebiscitarianism : On Jeff rey Green’s Ocular Democracy
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Contemporary democracies have been witnessing many profound changes, including an unprecedented rise of the power of mass media enhanced by new technologies, a crisis of traditional forms of representation and participation, leading towards a new emphasis on the role of political leadership in democracy. These changes have also raised many challenges to our traditional understanding of democracy, becoming a source for many innovations in democratic thought. One of these rehabilitated innovations is concerned with the role of citizens as spectators, one that has generally been overlooked or ignored by democratic theorists. The paper is concerned with Jeffrey Green’s book, The Eyes of the People, that belongs to the most important exceptions to this trend. While I agree with the key role that Green attributes to spectatorship, the paper criticizes a strong relation between spectatorship and plebiscitarianism that Green establishes, and attempts instead to develop a theory of democratic spectatorship suitable for representative democracy.
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