Introduction: Crisis and Democracy in the Twenty-First Century

  • Benjamin Isakhan
  • Steven Slaughter


Recent years have seen near constant reports on the failures of governance and the crisis of democracy. The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) from 2008 onwards saw many of the world’s strongest economies and most robust democracies teeter on the edge of collapse. This crisis led to other financial crises such as the European sovereign debt crisis which emerged in late 2009. As governments took unprecedented steps to bail out the financial sector, many began to question the relationship between representative democracy and the global capitalist free market system along with the forms of national and global governance which support this economic model. In response to these crises, a series of popular grassroots movements and protests emerged across both sides of the Atlantic. In the US, the Occupy Wall Street movement attempted to challenge the power of the financial system and levels of economic inequality in advanced democracies, while across Europe anti-austerity protests indicated, among other things, a wide dissatisfaction with EU interference in domestic politics, especially in Greece and Portugal where EU and IMF bailouts were imposed without clear public mandates. These crises and the public responses they produced have forced many scholars, leaders and policymakers to ask difficult questions about the power of governance to trump democracy during times of crisis.


Civil Society Global Financial Crisis Global Governance Citizen Participation Representative Democracy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aksu, E. & Camilleri, J. A. (eds) (2002) Democratizing Global Governance (London: Palgrave Macmillan).Google Scholar
  2. Antlov, H., Fabros, A., Iszatt, N. T., Orlandini, B. & Rocamora, J. (2004) Citizen Participation in Local Governance: Experiences from Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines (Manila: Institute for Popular Democracy).Google Scholar
  3. Backstrand, K. (2006) ‘Democratizing Global Environmental Governance? Stakeholder Democracy after the World Summit on Sustainable Development’, European Journal of International Relations, 12(4), 467–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bell, S. and Hindmoor, A. (2009) Rethinking Governance: The Centrality of the State in Modern Societies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bevir, M. (2010) Democratic Governance (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bevir, M. (2011) ‘Democratic Governance: A Genealogy’, Local Government Studies, 37(1), 3–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bevir, M. & Rhodes, R. A. W. (2003) Interpreting British Governance (London: Routledge).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bevir, M. & Rhodes, R. A. W. (2006) Governance Stories (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  9. Boutros-Ghali, B. (2009) ‘The Missing Link of Democratization’ in Open Democracy,, date accessed 06 February 2014.
  10. Castells, M. (2008) ‘The New Public Sphere: Global Civil Society, Communication Networks, and Global Governance’, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 616 (178–193).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cook, T. E. & Morgan, P. M. (eds) (1971) Participatory Democracy (San Francisco, CA: Canfield).Google Scholar
  12. Crouch, C. (2004) Post-Democracy (Cambridge: Polity).Google Scholar
  13. Dahl, R. A. (1999) ‘Can International Organizations Be Democratic? A Skeptic’s View’ in I. Shapiro & C. Hacker-Cordon (eds) Democracy’s Edges (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  14. Drezner, D. (2012) ‘The Irony of Global. Economic Governance. The System Worked’ IIGG Working Paper, Council on Foreign Relations Press.Google Scholar
  15. Dryzek,. S. (2000) Deliberative Democracy and Beyond: Liberals, Critics, Contestations (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  16. Dryzek, J. S. (2006) Deliberative Global Politics: Discourse and Democracy in a Divided World (Cambridge: Polity Press).Google Scholar
  17. Dryzek, J. S. (2007) ‘Networks and Democratic Ideals: Equality, Freedom and Communication’, in E. Sorensen & J. Torfing (eds) Theories of Democratic Network Governance (London: Palgrave Macmillan).Google Scholar
  18. Dryzek, J. S. (2009) ‘Democratization as Deliberative Capacity Building’, Comparative Political Studies, 42(11), 1379–1402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dryzek, J. S. (2010) Foundations and Frontiers of Deliberative Governance (Oxford: Oxford University Press).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dryzek, J. S. (2011) ‘Global Democratization: Soup, Society, or System?’ Ethics & International Affairs, 25(2), 211–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dryzek, J. S. & Dunleavy, P. (2009) Theories of the Democratic State (London: Palgrave Macmillan).Google Scholar
  22. Faundez, J. (ed.) (2007) On the State of Democracy (Oxon: Routledge).Google Scholar
  23. Feng, Y. (ed.) (2003) Democracy, Governance, and Economic Performance: Theory and Evidence (Cambridge: MIT Press).Google Scholar
  24. Fishkin, J. S. (1991) Democracy and Deliberation (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press).Google Scholar
  25. Fishkin, J. S. (1995) The Voice of the People: Public Opinion and Democracy (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press).Google Scholar
  26. Fowler, A. (1993) ‘Non-Governmental Organisations as Agents of Democratization: An African Perspective’, Journal of International Development, 5(3), 325–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fox, J. (1994) ‘Latin America’s Emerging Local Politics’, Journal of Democracy, 5(2), 105–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Fox, C. J. & Miller, H. T. (1995) Postmodern Public Administration: Towards Discourse (London: Sage).Google Scholar
  29. Frieden, J. A., Lake, D. A., Nicholson, M. & Ranganath, A. (2011) ‘Crisis Politics: Uncertainty, Relative Prices and Political Change’, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Political Economy Society, University of Wisconsin.Google Scholar
  30. Gaventa, J. (2004) ‘strengthening Participatory Approaches to Local Governance: Learning the Lessons from Abroad’, National Civic Review, 93(4), 16–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gill, S. (2012) ‘Introduction: Global Crises and the Crisis of Global Leadership’ in S. Gill (ed.) Global Crises and the Crisis of Global Leadership (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  32. Habermas, J. (1996 [1989]) ‘The Transformation of the Public Sphere’s Political function’ in W. Outhwaite (ed.) The Habermas Reader (Cambridge: Polity).Google Scholar
  33. Hansen, A. D. (2007) ‘Governance Networks and Participation’ in E. Sorensen & J. Torfing (eds) Theories of Democratic Network Governance (London: Palgrave Macmillan).Google Scholar
  34. Hay, C. (1996) ‘Narrating Crisis: The Discursive Construction of the “Winter of Discontent”’ Sociology, 30, 253–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hay, C. (1999) ‘Crisis and the Structural Transformation of the State: Interrogating the Process of Change’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 1(3), 317–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. He, B. (1996) The Democratization of China (New York: Routledge).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. He, B. (2012) ‘China Since Tiananmen Square’ in B. Isakhan & S. Stockwell (eds) The Edinburgh Companion to the History of Democracy (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press).Google Scholar
  38. Held, D., Kaldor, M. & Quah, D. (2010) ‘The Hydra-Headed Crisis’ in Global Policy’,, date accessed 06 February 2014.
  39. Hermann, C. F. (1972) International Crises: Insights from Behavioral Research (New York: Free Press).Google Scholar
  40. Hudson, W. & Slaughter, S. (eds) (2007) Globalisation and Citizenship: The Transnational Challenge (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  41. Isakhan, B. (2012) ‘The Complex and Contested History of Democracy’ in B. Isakhan & S. Stockwell (eds) The Edinburgh Companion to the History of Democracy (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press).Google Scholar
  42. Isakhan, B., Mansouri, F. & Akbarzadeh, S. (eds) (2012) The Arab Revolutions in Context: Civil Society and Democracy in a Changing Middle East (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press).Google Scholar
  43. Isakhan, B. & Stockwell, S. (eds) (2011) The Secret History of Democracy (London: Palgrave Macmillan).Google Scholar
  44. Isakhan, B. & Stockwell, S. (eds) (2012) The Edinburgh Companion to the History of Democracy (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press).Google Scholar
  45. Jreisat, J. E. (ed.) (2002) Governance and Developing Countries (Leiden: Brill).Google Scholar
  46. Kathi, P. C. & Cooper, T. L. (2005) ‘Democratizing the Administrative State: Connecting Neighborhood Councils and City Agencies’, Public Administration Review, 65(5), 559–567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Keane, J. (2009) The Life and Death of Democracy (New York: Simon and Schuster).Google Scholar
  48. Keane, J. (2011a) ‘Monitory Democracy’ in S. Alonso, J. Keane & W. Merkel (eds) The Future of Representative Democracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  49. Keane, J. (2011b) ‘Monitory Democracy? The Secret History of Democracy since 1945’ in B. Isakhan & S. Stockwell (eds) The Secret History of Democracy (London: Palgrave Macmillan).Google Scholar
  50. Kjaer, A. M. (2004) Governance (Cambridge: Polity).Google Scholar
  51. Klein, N. (2007) The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (New York: Allen Lane).Google Scholar
  52. Lerner, J. & Antieau, M. W. (2010, 20 April) ‘Chicago’s $1.3 Million Experiment in Democracy’, Yes! Magazine,, date accessed 06 February 2014.
  53. March, J. G. & Olsen, J. P. (1995) Democratic Governance (New York: The Free Press).Google Scholar
  54. Marquand, D. (1979) Parliament for Europe (London: Jonathan Cape).Google Scholar
  55. Marsh, D. & Rhodes, R. A. W. (eds) (1992) Policy Networks in British Government (Oxford: Clarendon).Google Scholar
  56. Marsh, I., Blondel, J. & Inoguchi, T. (eds) (1999) Democracy, Governance, and Economic Performance: East and Southeast Asia (New York: United Nations University Press).Google Scholar
  57. Pateman, C. (1999 [1970]) Participation and Democratic Theory (London: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  58. Pinnington, E., Lerner, J. & Schugurensky, D. (2009) ‘Participatory Budegting in North America: The Case of Guleph, Canada’, Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management, 21(3), 455–484.Google Scholar
  59. Pleyers, G. (2010) Alter-Globalization: Becoming Actors in the Global Age (Cambridge: Polity).Google Scholar
  60. Prassad, M. (2006) The Politics of Free Markets: The Rise of Neo-Liberal Economic Policies in Britain, France, Germany and the United States (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).Google Scholar
  61. Rawls, J. (1971) A Theory of Justice (Cambridge: Harvard University Press).Google Scholar
  62. Rawls, J. (2001) Justice as Fairness: A Restatement (Cambridge: Belknap Press).Google Scholar
  63. Rhodes, R. A. W. (2001 [1997]) Understanding Governance: Policy Networks, Governance, Reflexivity and Accountability (Buckingham: Open University Press).Google Scholar
  64. Rosenau, J. (2007) ‘Governing the Ungovernable: The Challenge of a Global Disaggregation of Authority’, Regulation and Governance, 1(1), 88–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Saward, M. (2001) ‘Reconstructing Democracy: Current Thinking and New Directions’, Government and Opposition, 36(4), 559–581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Saward, M. (2006) ‘Democracy and Citizenship: Expanding Domains’ in J. Dryzek, B. Honig and A. Phillips (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Political Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  67. Scholte, J. A. (2002) ‘Civil Society and Democracy in Global Governance’, Global Governance, 8(3), 281–304.Google Scholar
  68. Scholte, J. A. (2008) ‘Reconstructing Contemporary Democracy’, Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, 15(1), 305–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Schumpeter, J. (1947) Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (3rd edn) (New York: Harper and Brothers).Google Scholar
  70. Shah, A. (ed.) (2007) Participatory Budgeting (Washington: The World Bank).Google Scholar
  71. Sintomer, Y., Herzberg, C. & Rocke, A. (2008) ‘Participatory Budgeting in Europe: Potentials and Challenges’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 32(1), 164–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Slaughter, S. (2005) Liberty Beyond Neo-liberalism: A Republican Critique of Liberal Governance in a Globalising Age (London: Palgrave Macmillan).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Sorensen, E. & Torfing, J. (2005) ‘The Democratic Anchorage of Governance Networks’, Scandinavian Political Studies, 28(3), 195–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Sorensen, E. & Torfing, J. (eds) (2007) Theories of Democratic Network Governance (London: Palgrave Macmillan).Google Scholar
  75. Stevis, D. & Boswell, T. (2008) Globalization and Labor: Democratizing Global Governance (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield).Google Scholar
  76. Stiglitz, J. H. (2003) ‘Democratizing the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank: Governance and Accountability’, Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, 16(1), 111–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Stokes, G. (2011) ‘Governance and Democracy: The Problem of Policy Networks’, paper presented at the Seminar Series, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University, Australia.Google Scholar
  78. Stone, D. (2008) ‘Global Public Policy, Transnational Policy Communities and their Networks’, Policy Studies Journal, 36(10): 19–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Talpin, J. (2007) ‘schools of Democracy: How Ordinary Citizens Become Competent in Participatory Budgeting Institutions’, PhD Thesis, European University Institute, Florence.Google Scholar
  80. Thornton, P. M. (2009) ‘Crisis and Governance: SARS and the Resilience of the Chinese Body Politic’, The China Journal, 61, 23–48.Google Scholar
  81. von Lieres, B. & Kahane, D. (2007) ‘Inclusion and Representation in Democratic Deliberations: Lessons from Canada’s Romanow Commission’ in A. Cornwall & V. S. Coelho (eds) Spaces for Change?: The Politics of Citizen Participation in New Democratic Arenas (London: Zed).Google Scholar
  82. Wampler, B. (2007) Participatory Budgeting in Brazil: Contestation, Cooperation, and Accountability (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press).Google Scholar
  83. Warren, M. E. (1999) ‘Governance Driven Democratization’, Critical Policy Studies, 3(1), 3–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Woodward, D. (2010) ‘Democratizing Global Governance for Sustainable Human Development’ Development, 53(1), 42–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Benjamin Isakhan and Steven Slaughter 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin Isakhan
  • Steven Slaughter

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations