Giddens (1992, p 330) regards the association with democracy as one of ‘the most important aspects of the modern state’. Democracy is derived from demokratia, the root meanings of which are demos (people) and kratos (rule) and is ‘a form of government in which, in contradistinction to monarchies or aristocracies, the people rule’ (Held, 1987, p 2). There is a history of conflicting conceptions of the term and in articulating each element – the rule, rule by and the people.