Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Rod Preece

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This thesis builds a theory of ideal democracy based on the concept of human self-realization as intersubjectively determined. Self-realization and intersubjectivity, it argues, is founded on the existential notion of "choice". Self-realization is broadened, it is argued, by broadening the choices available to individuals. The thesis attempts to broaden individual choices by broadening participation in democracy. The thesis then constructs a practical model for a direct democracy using modern telecommunications networks. The intent of the theory is to build an intuitive myth of Universal Leadership that transcends the liberal myth of freedom. It outlines the liberal notion of the 'contract' as being created to protect individuals from the state with a theory of rights and freedoms. Contract theory, it contends, places individuals in a position distinct from government and as such, focuses on the protection of individuals from the state. The theory of Universal Leadership, on the other hand, places the individual in a direct position of responsibility for the conduct of the state, thus uniting the individual with the state. This unity, then, manifest what could be described as "collective- consciousness". The theory builds on the liberal notions of freedom and equality as well as the political structures liberalism has constructed; but alters the perspective by engaging individuals directly in the governing of the state. The theory takes a strong ethical position, rejecting egoism and relativism, believing that these perspectives arose from the division between the state and the members of the state. It contends that such ethical positions are incommensurable with a theory of Universal Leadership. By positing direct democracy as a practical possibility, in our age of mass communication, the thesis then sets up a debate to argue its potential and its perils. This debate takes the form of a dialogue to allow criticisms of the theory to be engaged directly with each other. The new paradigm of direct democracy is then compared to the paradigm of representational democracy in order to assess each from the perspective of the other. The thesis then theoretically examines popular political movements as they relate to democracy, in order to search for the seeds of a direct democratic movement. It contends that a direct democracy holds the potential to unite the ideological poles of grass-roots movements because each rely on democratic power to make their respective cases. The purpose of this thesis is to immediately posit the possibility of a direct democracy and through that perspective, explores the potential of individuals as political beings.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season