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2009 | 1 | 1 | 110-124

Article title

Všeobecné volební právo jako demokratický axiom: některé konsekvence pro teorii i praxi moderní masové demokracie

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Title variants

Universal Suffrage as a Democratic Axiom: Some Consequences for the Theory and Praxis of Modern Mass Democracy

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The study tackles some key aspects of voters’ decision making in modern mass democracies vis a vis the changes of paradigm of political party membership since the implementation of universal suffrage. The implementation of universal suffrage, the study argues, brought about also mass party membership, which presupposed tight integration of an individual into a distinct socio-cultural collective body. The parties thus begun to expand into the „civic“ sphere, which enabled the identification of a single voter with respective political representation, the Agrarian party of the First Czechoslovak Republic being a typical example for Kunštat. The end of the World War II, however, is accompanied by growing diversity of institutions and interests within the modern democracies. The parties oriented on voters from different social backgrounds, which pursued a large number of concrete goals, begun to assert themselves. The political conflicts and interests thus became gradually de-ideologized. Parallel to that, these types of political parties were unable to tackle the interests and problems of post-industrial society (gender question, nuclear energy, abortion etc.) According to Kunštat, today the modern media seem to play the key role of an almost single producer of public discourse and also of a very strong tool of social control. Voters’ decision making, the study concludes, is thus nowadays defined more by their political socialization or party identification than by rational choice.


  • Redakce časopisu Střed, Masarykův ústav a Archiv AV ČR, v.v.i., Gabčíkova 2362/10, 182 00, Prague 8, Czech Republic


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Publication order reference


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