chapter  15
The contemporary state of democracy in a transformed Europe
ByYvette Peters, Michaël Tatham
Pages 30

Two main themes run through the book as a whole. These are the impact of inequalities , on the one hand, and the re-definition and contestation of the concept of community as a basis for the running of political systems, on the other hand. These two concepts of inequality and community have direct consequences for democracy. They are also intertwined: community membership necessarily implies the definition of an in-group and an out-group 1 and therefore may function as a rationale for exclusion from certain rights or policies. These exclusionary processes can result in a rise in inequalities among individuals within the polity. Indeed, the idea of a homogenous community is a fiction. There will always be minorities, however defined. What differentiates political systems, then, is the extent to which minority rights can be safeguarded whilst at the same time guaranteeing that the preferences of a majority will translate into congruent policy outputs – in other words, how political systems balance responsiveness with responsibility, and decisiveness with inclusiveness.