2.52 Liberal Democracy

Category: Social and Political

Keywords: democracy, democratic, liberalism, liberal, citizens, politics, political, international, government, public, national, institutions, community, policies, majority

Number of Articles: 441
Percentage of Total: 1.4%
Rank: 19th

Weighted Number of Articles: 342.4
Percentage of Total: 1.1%
Rank: 36th

Mean Publication Year: 1979.2
Weighted Mean Publication Year: 1978
Median Publication Year: 1987
Modal Publication Year: 1994

Topic with Most Overlap: Ordinary Language (0.0391)
Topic this Overlaps Most With: War (0.0495)
Topic with Least Overlap: Quantum Physics (0.00016)
Topic this Overlaps Least With: Time (0.00013)

A scatterplot showing which proportion of articles each year are in the liberal democracytopic. The x-axis shows the year, the y-axis measures the proportion of articles each year in this topic. There is one dot per year. The highest value is in 1994 when 3.2% of articles were in this topic. The lowest value is in 1894 when 0.0% of articles were in this topic. The full table that provides the data for this graph is available in Table A.52 in Appendix A.

Figure 2.123: Liberal democracy.

A set of twelve scatterplots showing the proportion of articles in each journal in each year that are in the Liberal Democracytopic. There is one scatterplot for each of the twelve journals that are the focus of this book. In each scatterplot, the x-axis is the year, and the y-axis is the proportion of articles in that year in that journal in this topic. Here are the average values for each of the twelve scatterplots - these tell you on average how much of the journal is dedicated to this topic. Mind - 0.2%. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society - 0.8%. Ethics - 7.8%. Philosophical Review - 0.5%. Analysis - 0.2%. Philosophy and Public Affairs - 11.1%. Journal of Philosophy - 0.7%. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research - 0.4%. Philosophy of Science - 0.2%. Noûs - 0.4%. The Philosophical Quarterly - 0.8%. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science - 0.1%. The topic reaches its zenith in year 2000 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 4.5% of the articles. And it hits a minimum in year 1894 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 0.0% of the articles.

Figure 2.124: Liberal democracy articles in each journal.

Table 2.125: Characteristic articles of the liberal democracy topic.
Table 2.126: Highly cited articles in the liberal democracy topic.


Some model runs came up with a topic that was straightforwardly Rawls-studies. This model didn’t quite do that. It has this topic on liberalism and democracy, and a later topic on egalitarianism. And narrowly focused Rawls work ends up split across both of those topics.

But both topics also include a lot more besides Rawls. This is clear just from the time distribution of the articles. Those handful of papers around 1920, followed by sustained engagement in the early 1940s, can’t be about Rawls. Some of them are articles you might easily count as history of philosophy, such as papers on Aristotle, on Mill, or on the Federalist papers.

As this suggests, there was traditionally more work in this topic that was at least a little applied; as the century progressed it moved more into the realm of high theory. The applied work here (which isn’t applied by anything other than philosophical standards) is very focussed on Anglophone countries. Papers on other countries tend to end up in the history and culture topic. So a paper like “The Mystery of 1789” is about the wonders of the US Constitution, not the overthrow of European feudalism (Seagle 1948).

A lot of the papers here get picked up in the political theory literature, and from there they get huge citation counts. Tis ends up being one of the highest cited topics in the whole study.