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date: 20 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Today, all advanced capitalist states are democratic states. Since the 1950s, the core institutional structures of most democratic states have remained unchanged. Greece, Spain, and Portugal entered the club of democracies in the 1970s. In this chapter we examine the gradual transformation of the democratic state that took place underneath the remarkable stability of democratic core institutions. A deepening of political participation and an increased use of referenda occurred, along with reforms that encouraged the autonomy of political elites, administrations, and experts. The rise of semi-independent agencies and the international diffusion of the model of an independent central bank altered the modes of democratic governance decisively. The bond between democratic state, civil society, and citizens was weakened. Moreover, democratic states are challenged by the new political power of international and regional organizations; ironically, these organizations are institutions these states themselves established and which they have constantly promoted.

Keywords: democracy, democratic state, governance, participation, elections, party government, class conflict, financial crisis, neoliberalism

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