Psychology of Democracy: Paradoxes of democracy, social psychological preconditions for democracy, and current dilemmas

[Speaker] Klicperova, Martina:1
1:Institute of Psychology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (Czech Republic)

Democracy is recognized as a regime best securing human rights, self-actualization of human beings, and prosperity. Most importantly, democracy is an institutionalized conflict resolution system (Pax democratica - democratic peace within and among democracies). Paradoxically, democracy itself is based on permanent conflict negotiations; its defining principles (equality and freedom) are hardly compatible. Furthermore, human psyche is often selfish (note the attribution errors and social traps such as the Tragedy of the Commons). Therefore, benevolence/civility is a primary precondition for democracy; democracy cannot be introduced where there is a lack of civility and benevolence. Democracies function best if citizens experience trust and (horizontal and vertical) closeness along with a lack of serious frustration (which is a definition of freedom). Dilemmas of current Psychology of Democracy involve dilemmas of theory, methodology, and application.
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