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Political democracy, governance and representation

Marco Aurélio Nogueira

Governance is analyzed, based on the effectiveness of democracy as a system able to manage present complex societies. New demands in terms of plurality, heterogeneity, and social fragmentation are explored, and perspectives for political-institutional innovation are discussed.

The state crisis is seen as a consequence of both excesive demands by the society and state inability to provide proper responses. In this context, ungovernance of modern society was emphasized. Two proposals were made to solve said crisis -restrain and filter demands, or strengthen government actions through different levels of state intervention.

The debate on ungovernance led to address the problem in terms of crisis of democracy within the context of the complex modern societies. Moreover, the study of governance is oriented to analyze complexity features and examine conditions under which complex societies could be manageable. Such features include heterogeneity, plurality, and social fragmentation.

The democratic doctrine was based on far less complex societies, and democratic institutions did not change as societies did. In this regard, representation mechanisms lost force, particularly political parties and trade unions, whose traditional function as mediators was not developed any more. At this point, whether parties revitalization is possible following a real effort of political-institutional invention is a question that arises.

Governance-related problems must be overcome by realizing how ineffective plain and logically linear explanations of current social phenomena are. Complexity is sought to be defined in terms of challenge, in a search for proper mechanisms to manage a society with an extremely high dynamics and modified ways to represent different sectors and interests.

Classic liberal and socialist doctrines have also been shaken by new demands, being unable to meet them. Nevertheless, they remain as references. Liberals and socialists are challenged to provide the political issue with a broader background, by incorporating it into projects at the long term that may attain consensus and agreements around them.

Latin America is particularly complex, given the coexistence of historical processes with post-modern phenomena. However, in Latin America, as well as in more advanced countries, future entails a collective practice reinventing politics, revitalizing links and democratic institutions, and creating new cultures.

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