Dirk Jörke

The Size of Democracy - On the Spatial Dimension of Governance and Participation

(German title: Die Größe der Demokratie)
ca. 283 pages
Dirk Jörke

Dirk Jörke

Dirk Jörke, born in 1971, is Professor for Political Theory and the History of Ideas at the Technical University of Darmstadt.

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»The EU is too big for the formation of republican values and practices«


Though for a long time there was consensus about the integration of national states into transnational communities like the European Union, this view is now under pressure: Brussels is too far away, the populations of member states have too little influence – »Take back control« as the Brexiteers said.

In view of this constellation Dirk Jörke sifts through arguments and findings – from Aristotle through Jürgen Habermas – on the relationship between size and the democratic quality of states. Coming from a republican position in which the equality and the participation of citizens take centre stage, he pleads for a spatial limit to democracy and the reconversion of the EU into a confederation in a book that is as important as it is controversial.


»[Jörke] manages to find and analyse the weak points of the EU in a manner that is both convincing as well as entertaining. The fact that he looks at both sides at length is particularly effective: the EU-sceptics and their fears but also the EU-supporters and their dream of a consolidation of the union. A strong basis for the debate on the discussion of the EU states and the national states.« Berthold Merkle, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

»At a time in which the debate about Europe has escalated into a simple ›for‹ or ›against‹ and thereby eliminated any substantial discussions of both problems and visions for the future, Jörke is inspired to once again discuss democracy in normative terms [...] This essay delivers a productive contrast to popular discourse [...] « Josephine Schulz, Deutschlandfunk Kultur

»The strength that characterises Jörke’s study lies in the fact that he consistently projects the undesirable developments of the EU onto the backdrop of his emancipatory concept of democracy.« Richard Saage, Zeitschrift für Politik

»This books shows in an exemplary way in what way political theory and history of thought can contribute to a constructive engagemet with reality: A clear thesis that claims the practical unfeasibility of effective forms of democracy that are based on collective participation and self-determination in spacially and demographically inflated political imperatively coordinated groups is developed vividly and plausibly in an interplay of insights derived from in the history of ideas, arguments based in political theory and current empirical findings.« Jörn Knobloch, soziopolis.de