• This is the introductory chapter to the monograph “Recht – Macht – Öffentlichkeit”, which investigates how to include the phenomenological dimension of the life-world in the analysis of the demoratic state. In Jürgen Habermas’s discourse theory of law and democracy there is reason for such an extension, yet it is hard to carry out methodologically. Taking up motives of Claude Lefort’s phenomenology of democracy and human rights, the book discusses the dimension of the lifeworld not so much as a cultural phenomenen than as symbolical dimension of democratic institutions themselves. Combining both approaches, the book presents sketches of a normative theory of democracy that is adequate to factual social and political practices at the same time.