Skip to main content

Advertisement

Log in

For participatory democracy: some notes

  • Symposium
  • Published:
European Political Science Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

The Great Recession that hit the world in 2008 functioned as a critical juncture, nurturing socioeconomic but also political transformations. Some of the political developments during the crisis have challenged civil, political and social rights, triggering a Great Regression. In the geographical areas that have been hardest hit by the financial crisis, particularly in the European periphery, waves of protest have, however, challenged the austerity policies adopted by national governments under heavy pressure from lending institutions including the European Central Bank, the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund. This has put democracy under stress, but also triggered at some capacity for innovation. While some have considered the multiple crises as proof that governments need more technical expertise, others have blamed an “econocracy” that has taken over political decisions while pretending they are not political. Siding with this second vision, I will suggest in these notes that what we need is more, rather than less participation in democracy. I develop my argument by summarising some recent reflections in the social sciences on the challenges that the financial crisis poses to democracy, and the ways to address those challenges.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Altman, D. 2011. Direct Democracy Worldwide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Appadurai, A. 2017. Democracy Fatigue. In The Great Regression, ed. H. Geiselberger. Cambridge: Polity.

    Google Scholar 

  • Arnstein, S.R. 1969. A Ladder of Citizen Participation. Journal of the American Institute of Planners 35(4): 216–224.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baiocchi, G., and E. Ganuza. 2016. Popular Democracy. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Barber, B. 1984. Strong Democracy. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bauman, Z. 2017. Symptoms in Search of an Object and a Name. In The Great Regression, ed. H. Geiselberger. Cambridge: Polity.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bauman, Z. 2018. Retrotopia. Cambridge: Polity.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Brennan, Jason. 2016. Against Democracy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Cohen, J. 1989. Deliberation and Democratic Legitimacy. In The Good Polity: Normative Analysis of the State, ed. A. Hamlin and P. Pettit, 17–34. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Crouch, C. 2003. Post-Democracy. Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Crozier, M., S. Huntington, and J. Watakuni. 1975. The Crisis of Democracy. New York: New York University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dahl, R.A. 2000. On Democracy. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Della Porta, D. (ed.). 2009. Democracy in Social Movements. Houndsmill: Palgrave.

    Google Scholar 

  • Della Porta, D. 2013. Can Democracy Be Saved?. Oxford: Polity.

    Google Scholar 

  • Della Porta, D. 2015. Social Movements in Times of Crisis: Bringing Capitalism Back into the Analysis of Protest. Cambridge: Polity.

    Google Scholar 

  • Della Porta, D. (ed.). 2017. The Global Diffusion of Protest. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Della Porta, D. (ed.). 2018. Contentious Moves. London: Palgrave.

    Google Scholar 

  • Della Porta, D., M. Andretta, T. Fernandes, F. O’Connor, E. Romanos, and M. Votgiatzoglou. 2017a. Late Neoliberalism and Its Discontent. London: Palgrave.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Della Porta, D., and A. Felicetti. 2017. Democratic Innovations and Social Movements. The Governance Report, 127–142. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Della Porta, D., and A. Felicetti. 2018. Between Deliberation and Contestation: The Convergence of Struggles Against Austerity and Its World in the Nuit Debout Movement. Social Movement Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/14742837.2018.150548.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Della Porta, D., J. Fernandez, H. Kouki, and L. Mosca. 2017b. Movement Parties in Times of Crisis. Cambridge: Polity.

    Google Scholar 

  • Della Porta, D., and M. Keating, et al. 2018. The Paradoxes of Democracy and the Rule of Law. In Rethinking Society for the 21st Century Volume 2: Political Regulation, Governance, and Societal Transformations, pp. 373–411. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Della Porta, D., F. O’Connor, M. Portos, and A. Subirats. 2017c. Social Movements and Referendums from Below: Direct Democracy in the Neoliberal Crisis. Bristol: Policy Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Dryzek, J.S. 2000. Deliberative Democracy and Beyond. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dryzek, J.S. 2010. Foundations and Frontiers of Deliberative Governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Dyck, J.J. 2009. Initiated Distrust: Direct Democracy and Trust in Government. American Politics Research 37: 539–568.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Earle, G., C. Moran, and Z. Ward-Perkins. 2017. The Econocracy. London: Penguin.

    Google Scholar 

  • Elster, J. 1998. Deliberation and Constitution Making. In Deliberative Democracy, ed. J. Elster, 97–122. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Elstub, S., and O. Escobar. 2017. A Typology of Democratic Innovations. Paper for the Political Studies Association’s Annual Conference, 10–12 April, Glasgow.

  • Fatke, M. 2015. Participation and Political Equality in Direct Democracy: Educative Effect or Social Bias? Swiss Political Science Review 21(1): 99–118.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fishkin, J. 1997. The Voice of the People. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Font, J., D. della Porta, and Y. Sintomer (eds.). 2014. Participatory Democracy in SOUTHERN EUROPE. London: Rowman and Littlefield.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fraser, N. 1990. Rethinking the Public Sphere. Social Text 25(26): 56–80.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fung, A. 2003. Survey Article: Recipes for Public Spheres. Journal of Political Philosophy 11: 338–367.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fung, A., and E. Olin Wright (eds.). 2003. Deepening Democracy: Institutional Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance. London and New York: Verso.

    Google Scholar 

  • Geiselberger, H. 2017. The Great Regression. Cambridge: Polity.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gordon, U. 2017. Prefigurative Politics Between Ethical Practice and Absent Promise. Political Studies 66: 521–537.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Habermas, J. 1996. Between Facts and Norms: Contribution to a Discursive Theory of Law and Democracy. Cambridge: MIT Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Held, D. 2006. Models of Democracy. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hobolt, S.B. 2009. Europe in Question: Referendums on European Integration. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Kriesi, H. 2005. Direct Democratic Choices: The Swiss Experience. Lanham: Lexington Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Maeckelbergh, M. 2011. Doing is Believing: Prefiguration as Strategic Practice in the Alterglobalization Movement. Social Movement Studies 10(1): 1–20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mansbridge, J. 1996. Using Power/Fighting Power: The Polity. In Democracy and Difference: Contesting the Boundaries of the Political, ed. S. Benhabib, 46–66. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mason, P. 2017. Overcoming the Fear of Freedom. In The Great Regression, ed. H. Geiselberger. Cambridge: Polity.

    Google Scholar 

  • McAdam, D., and K. Kloos. 2016. Deeply Divided. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mendelson, M., and F. Cutler. 2000. The Effect of Referendums on Democratic Citizens: Information, Politicization, Efficacy and Tolerance. British Journal of Political Science 30: 669–698.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Meyer, D., and S. Tarrow (eds.). 2018. The Resistance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pateman, C. 1970. Participation and Democratic Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Qvortrup, M. 2014a. Conclusion. In Referendums Around the World, ed. M. Qvortrup, 246–251. London: Palgrave.

    Google Scholar 

  • Qvortrup, M. 2014b. Introduction: Theory, Practice and History. In Referendums Around the World, ed. M. Qvortrup, 1–16. London: Palgrave.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rosanvallon, P. 2006. La contre-démocratie: la politique à l’âge de la défiance. Paris: Seuil.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schiller, T. 2009. Conclusions. In Referendums and Representative Democracy: Responsiveness, Accountability and Deliberation, ed. M. Setälä and T. Schiller, 207–219. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schumpeter, J.A. 1943. Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. London: Allen & Unwin.

    Google Scholar 

  • Setälä, M. 2009. Introduction. In Referendums and Representative Democracy, ed. M. Setälä and T. Schiller, 1–14. London: Routledge.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Sintomer, Y., C. Herzberg, and A. Röcke. 2007. Démocratie participative et modernisation des services publics: des affinités électives?. Enquête sur les expériences de budget participatif en Europe, Paris: La Découverte.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith, D.A., and C. Tolbert. 2004. Educated by Initiative: The Effects of Direct Democracy on Citizens and Political Organizations in the American States. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Smucker, J.M. 2014. Can Prefigurative Politics Replace Political Strategy? Berkeley Journal of Sociology 58: 74–82.

    Google Scholar 

  • Streeck, W. 2017. The Return of the Repressed as the Beginning of the End of Neoliberal Capitalism. In The Great Regression, ed. H. Geiselberger. Cambridge: Polity.

    Google Scholar 

  • Swain, D. 2017. Not Not but Not Yet: Present and Future in Prefigurative Politics. Political Studies. https://doi.org/10.1177/0032321717741233.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Talpin, J. 2015. Democratic Innovation. In The Oxford Handbook of Social Movements, ed. D. della Porta and M. Diani. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tierney, S. 2012. Constitutional Referendums: The Theory and Practice of Republican Deliberation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Tilly, Ch. 2004. Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Young, I.M. 2003. Activist Challenges to Deliberative Democracy. In Debating Deliberative Democracy, ed. J.S. Fishkin and P. Laslett, 102–120. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Donatella della Porta.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

della Porta, D. For participatory democracy: some notes. Eur Polit Sci 18, 603–616 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41304-018-0198-z

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41304-018-0198-z

Keywords

Navigation