The Uneasy Relationship Between Empirical and Normative Types in Consociational Theory
Title: The Uneasy Relationship Between Empirical and Normative Types in Consociational Theory
Author: BOGAARDS, Matthijs
Citation: Journal of Theoretical Politics, 2000, 12, 4, 395-423
Consociationalism has enriched comparative politics with a whole lineage of non-majoritarian types of democracy: from consociational democracy to consensus democracy and power-sharing. This article unravels the development, interaction and succession of empirical and normative typologies in 30 years of consociational literature as embodied in the work of Lijphart. It argues that consociational theory is plagued by serious conceptual problems which remain undetected by current inquiries into proper concept formation. The problem lies both in Lijphart's empirical typology of democracies and in the presence of a complementary but incongruent normative typology. The conclusion is that in the end the two kinds of typology weaken instead of strengthen each other and lay bare fundamental weaknesses in consociational theory. It is suggested that the empirical investigation of the normative rival types of consociational and majoritarian democracy, properly defined and operationalized, should be at the heart of new research strategies.
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