Social Movements, Political Parties, and Democratic Theory


Journal Article

New left-libertarian social movements invoke an ancient communitarian democratic theory against the contemporary practice of competitive elite democracy. Two explanations for this phenomenon are explored. First, in a cyclical model, challenges to representative democracy are viewed as recurring expressions of dissatisfaction with representative institutions. Second, in a structural differentiation model, the practices of left-libertarian movements trigger a pluralization of political decision modes in advanced capitalist democracies, even if such participatory innovations fall short of the direct democratic ideal expressed by movement activists. Although the cyclical model has some merit, on the whole, the structural differentiation model provides an analytically more powerful explanation of recent social movement activity. © 1993, SAGE Periodicals Press. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kitschelt, H

Published Date

  • January 1, 1993

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 528 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 13 - 29

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-3349

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-7162

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0002716293528001002

Citation Source

  • Scopus