Nadia Urbinati

Public opinion and democratic legitimacy

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: accountability, political judgment, opinion formation, representation, right of information

Through its long and honorable history, democracy has shown great imaginative ability to devise institutions and procedures that are capable of solving problems that democracy's political process of decision prompts. Risks to democracy come today from the complex world of information and political opinion formation, that panoply of means encompassing the indirect power of ideas that free speech nourishes. This is the main object of this article. I show how representative democracy pertains not only to the election of government agents and the building of state institutions; it also designates a form of political participation and, moreover, a way of forming political ideas and judgments in the ongoing creation of public opinion. Forming political judgments, contri¬buting to shaping public opinion: these are the loci we I propose we turn to in order to grasp the risks contemporary democracy is facing, and to devise the normative solutions to them; solutions that do not violate the democratic principles and do not narrow the domain of politics.

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