The case for extending measures of democracy in the world “Beneath”, “Above”, and “Outside” the national level

Jean-Paul Gagnon, Dannica Fleuss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
103 Downloads (Pure)


This article applies spatial theory, or the view that phenomena are distributed in space, to democracy. This analysis demonstrates that plural (two or more) democratic practices are evident in three spatial categories: (1) vertical stratification (i.e. at different levels of governance), (2) horizontal separation (i.e. among different agents operating at each level of governance), and (3) social association (i.e. in workplaces, families, schools). This finding, that plural democratic practices are demonstrated by agents operating at multiple levels of governance and in various non- or quasi-governmental associations prompts us to argue that measures of democracy in the world should be extended to spaces “beneath”, “above”, and “outside” the national level – presently the dominant locus for regular batteries that test the quality and extent of democratic practices globally. However, global data on the quality and extent of democracy at these other levels needs to be built before such an extension can happen.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102276
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalPolitical Geography
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2020


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