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Public Participation and Democratic Innovations

Assessing Democratic Institutions and Processes for Deepening and Increased Public Participation in Political Decision-Making

Public Participation and Democratic Innovations: Assessing Democratic Institutions and Processes for Deepening and Increased Public Participation in Political Decision-Making by Jan-Hendrik Kamlage and Patrizia Nanz 

 

The last three decades have witnessed a global spreading of a huge variety of democratic experiments and innovations. Multiple forms of dialogue and deliberation-based participation such as forms of digital participation nowadays complement democratic governments all over the world. There is a major transformation of democracy going on which is bringing up new and innovative channels for citizens' involvement in politics. Many of these innovations and experiments can be seen as a reaction on the current dissatisfaction, distrust and alienation of people as well as certain shortcomings of contemporary representative government. In this paper we address significant questions regarding the ongoing change in established democracies: What are the recent developments within the field of participative democratic governance? How can we reasonably categorise these forms of structured participation in democratic decision-making? Which guiding normative and practical criteria are available to shape and assess these public participation processes? Which empirical standards could be used to meaningfully assess these processes? Finally, what are the desiderata, challenges, and open questions with respect to the outlined topic? In doing so, we focus on face-to-face and digital processes of dialogue-based political participation such as institutional systems which provide and guide these participatory processes. We limit the scope of the paper to structured processes and innovations which are related to political decision-making within a polity. Thus, we focus on governmentally fostered processes of information, consultation, and co-governance, which contribute to an increased quality of public opinion and will-formation in administration and legislative bodies.

 

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