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Department of Political Science

Annual Lecture

The DPDS annual lecture is given by a senior scholar at the beginning of the academic year to share valuable perspective on democracy and to welcome new students, offering them a chance to meet other DPDS PhD candidates and discuss cutting-edge topics on democracy together.


Inaugural Annual Lecture 2021


Thursday 28 October 2021

Zoom meeting

(zoom link available upon registration)


Prof. Bo Rothstein
University of Gothenburg



Is there a contradiction between democracy and quality of government?: 

Most definitions of democracy rely on a set of procedural rules for how political power should be accessed legitimately. The basic norm for these procedural rules are according to noted democracy theorist Robert Dahl political equality realized by equal democratic rights. In this understanding of political legitimacy, democracy is a “partisan game” where various interests are given fair possibilities to compete for political power.

The concept of “quality of government” relates to the legitimacy in the exercise of political power and is based on the norm of impartiality that is the opposite of partisanship. This is to be realized by, for example, the rule of law and a public administration built on meritocracy.

Several tensions between these two bases for achieving political legitimacy will be present. For example, a democratically elected government may want to politicize the public administration and may establish public services and benefits directed only to their political supporters. The rule of law includes the principle of equality before the law, but a democratically elected government may take actions that put it “above” the law.

Various measures to handle these and other tensions between democracy and the quality of government will be presented in this lecture.


Due to the current Covid-19 containment measures, Covid Certificate and registration are compulsory for this event  Please register here


Weiterführende Informationen


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Due to the current Covid-19 containment measures, registration for the events is compulsory


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