What I learned about Democracy

This was my second political science course and first on democracy. My initial aim was to learn how the political scientists view and analyze any matter. I had the preconceived notion about democracy is that it is the rule by the majority.

The first interesting (but not surprising) lesson I learned that democracy has different versions and practices in different contexts and there has always been a tension between your perception versus mine.  This difference in perception came into the table during the Group Project on Democracy Index. It was fascinating to experience how the critical definitions and thick ideas could be narrowed down to measurement scale. As the course moved forward, I learned the messy history of U.S. democracy. There has always been specific reasons why democracy emerged in a certain way and then why changed routes over the time periods. After watching the video titled ‘Please vote for me’, I started to think, if people are given with this choice, is democracy something like a natural instinct to grow among themselves?

Being said that, the main contribution of this course to me is to teach students how to ask questions about a system. There were certain questions that we analyzed and reviewed based on scholars’ opinion and country context. These questions do not end with the course. These events do not stop. I believe this intension to ask specific questions is an enduring soft skill to learn from this course.

5 thoughts on “What I learned about Democracy

  1. Interesting that you mention ‘your perception versus mine’ as this is too how I am feeling upon concluding the course. Entering the class, I viewed democracy through my western point of view but now I better understand that the understanding of democracy varies from person to person. I think that the best thing for all students of democracy is to acknowledge that there is now clear answer, but a variety of different opinions that are all equally valid regarding the abstract concept of democracy.

  2. Sharif it was an honor to work with you on our democratization project together. I not only learned a lot about democracy, but I made a great friend. I too have found my original notions about democracy change throughout this course.

    • So nice of you Bryce! I was lucky to be in the same group with you all! No doubt, I learned the a lot from how you guys worked to make the output a great one!

  3. Hi Sharif! Just a simple question about the take away. So, what do you think on democracy? How would you like to define it? Looking forward to hearing from you. I think you will not answer it here, but I believe I’ll meet you face-to-face, we can talk on it then!

  4. Here is my definition of democracy, “democracy is legitimate institutional arrangement for acquiring power by people’s votes in order to make political decisions that affects voters’ lives”. Extracted from Lipset and Schumpeter.

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