Democratic and Authoritarian Political Systems in 21st Century World Society

Vol. 1 – Differentiation, Inclusion, Responsiveness

This book is about the radical novelty of modern polities in a functionally differentiated world society. Premodern states were at the apex of a stratified, hierarchical society. They dominated society and all its groups and strata. Modern polities have to be understood through the ecology of relations among different function systems. They have to find and incessantly redefine their place in society. They produce decisions that are collectively binding, but in preparing these decisions experience constraints and knowledge deficiencies that are related to the complexity of a functionally differentiated society. The book concentrates on six analytical perspectives that reflect how modern polities are embedded into 21st century society.

These perspectives are: the concept of inclusion and the inclusion revolution constitutive of modern polities; the internal differentiation of polities that endows them with an unprecedented complexity; the fact that polities do not know anything about society and the ways in which they compensate for this; representation and responsiveness as strategies to reconnect with society; the self-restriction of some polities that brings about ever new autonomous expert organizations; the symmetrical rise of autocracies and democracies as the two modern variants of political regimes.

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27. März 2021, 246 Seiten
ISBN: 978-3-8394-5126-7


Anna L. Ahlers

Anna Ahlers, Max-Planck-Institut Berlin, Deutschland

Damien Krichewsky

Damien Krichewsky, Forum Internationale Wissenschaft Bonn, Deutschland

Evelyn Moser

Evely Moser, Forum Internationale Wissenschaft Bonn, Deutschland

Rudolf Stichweh

Rudolf Stichweh, Universität Bonn, Deutschland

1. Why did You chose this topic?

In contemporary world society half of the world population lives under democratic, the other half under authoritarian regimes. We wanted to understand why this is the case and if this will be a permanent condition.

2. What new perspectives does your book offer?

The book demonstrates the structural novelty of modern political systems. It explains the internal complexity of democratic systems and the ways a democratic polity relates to the other function systems in society. It allows us to understand why there are autocracies besides democracies. It combines this with a new typology of democracies and autocracies.

3. What makes your topic relevant for current research debates?

In a way that has not been tried before, we demonstrate the relevance of sociological theory for the explanation of democracy, populism and authoritarianism.

4. Choose one person you would like to discuss your book with!

Juan Linz, Niklas Luhman, Talcott Parsons, John Pocock.

5. Your book summary in one sentence:

Our book makes visible how a sociological theory of functional differentiation is the key to understanding democracy as well as authoritarianism.

Democratic and Authoritarian Political Systems in 21st Century World Society Vol. 1 – Differentiation, Inclusion, Responsiveness
transcript Verlag
POL010000 SOC026000 POL033000 POL007000
27. März 2021
Globalisierung, Gesellschaft, Politik
Sociology, Political Science, History
Political Inclusion, Internal Differentiation, Knowledge, Responsiveness, Functional Autonomy, Democracy, Autocracy, Globalization, Society, Politics, Sociological Theory, Sociology, Political Sociology

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