21:00 GMT22 October 2020
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    According to a study conducted by the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, the level of democracy has declined over the last year in 24 countries, including Brazil and the United States. Sputnik discussed this with political scientist Antônio Marcelo Jackson from the University of Ouro Preto.

    The study, which involved three thousand experts from 202 countries, showed that over the last six years, the level of democracy regressed by at least 25 years. According to the conclusions of the scientists, independent media, freedom of speech and the rule of law are the most at risk today.

    Brazilian political scientist Antonio Marcelo Jackson told Sputnik that the primary meaning of the concept of "democracy," that is, "the power of the people," has changed dramatically: by the beginning of the 21st century, the number of citizens who had become "political people" had increased.

    "But what did, at the time (in the days of Ancient Greece), the word 'people' mean in the understanding of an Athenian? He was a free male citizen over 25 years old who was born in Athens. […] But what has changed over the course of centuries, and especially in the period from the second half of the 20th century to today, that is, by the beginning of the 21st century? What happened, in political theory, is called the expansion of the people," said Marcel, drawing attention, in particular, to the political rights of women.

    "When the concept of 'people' expands, the number of people, people of different classes increases, and they become part of the 'political people', those who make political decisions on a national scale, this means that you are changing the social hierarchy that has existed up to now. And to change this hierarchy, depending on this or that society, is very difficult," the academic said.

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    "When it comes to societies where there are problems associated with misogyny, or problems of racial intolerance, and so on… The moment when you include women, African Americans or any other group of citizens (into the political system) — this means that society can react negatively. I think this is what attracts attention to this research,"  Antonio Marcelo Jackson explained.

    According to him, the Swedish university’s study draws attention to the fact that in some countries where the size of the political class is increasing, the public elites are engaged in trying to preserve their privileges, because democracy used to be “the privilege of the few, and not a universal right.”

    "When you expand the notion of 'people' when more people start to participate (in the political life of the country), this group, the so-called elites, reacts to it," Marcelo added.

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    Speaking about why the US ended up on the list of democracies in decline, the political scientist mentioned that this is a nation set up mainly by immigrants and now it has become a society that "rejects immigrants with all its might." According to the expert, the inclusion of immigrants in political life is resisted by those who have political privileges.

    "I just can't understand how could this happen at all? [Americans think]: we are not interested in this anymore, if we open up the country to immigrants, they will participate in political life, they will vote, they will have rights, we do not want that."

    Thus, according to the political scientist, the reason for criticizing the democratic system in these countries is "the blurring of the notion of equality."

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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