Democratic Innovations and Civic Participation

Course content

According to the president of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen: Democracy is more than voting in elections every 5 years. It is about having your voice heard and being able to participate in the way society is built.

This course explores whether and how it is possible for citizens to get their voice heard and participate in society via democratic innovations, i.e. methods of engaging civil society in decision-making processes in between elections. It is about the methodology of translating democratic theory into practice or institutionalizing normative commitments.

Throughout the course, the students will work with democratic theories and methods and the latter’s application on both different levels (from local to international) and in different parts of the political decision-making process (from opinion formation to implementation). This includes, among other things, theories of deliberative, participatory, and radical democracy and methods such as participatory budgeting (applied to let citizens prioritize public spending in Brazil), citizens’ assembly (applied to engage citizens in the green transition in Denmark and in the process of legalizing abortion in Ireland), consensus conferences (applied in the legislation on gene technology in Denmark) etc. – for more examples see http://actioncatalogue.eu/search or https://participedia.net/

The aim of the course is to enable the students to critically assess, design, and apply engaging and innovative democratic decision-making processes based on an in-depth conceptual understanding of democracy.

Education

Bachelor student (2017 programme curriculum): 7.5 ECTS

Master student: 7.5 ECTS

Learning outcome

Knowledge:

Students will gain a deeper knowledge of:

  • Competing conceptions of democracy
  • Democratic methods for engaging civil society
  • The main cases of democratic innovation at different levels and parts of the political decision-making process

 

Skills:

Students will train their skills of:

  • Comparing and analyzing competing theoretical perspectives on democracy
  • Translating democratic theory into practice by applying methods for civic engagement
  • Designing democratic decision-making processes

 

Competences:

Students will be able to:

  • Reflect on the strength and weaknesses of different democratic innovations and methods
  • Assess the degree to which a decision-making process is democratic from a theoretical perspective
  • Critically assess which democratic methods fit which types of challenges and problems

The course will consist of a combination of lectures, student presentations and discussions, and possibly talks by guest lecturers.

Preliminary reading list:

 

Andersen, Vibeke Normann & Hansen, Kasper Møller. (2007). “How Deliberation Makes Better Citizens: The Danish Deliberative Poll on the euro”, European Journal of Political Research, 46: 531-556.

 

Arnstein, Sherry R. (2019). “A Ladder of Citizen Participation”, Journal of the American Planning Association, 85:1, 24-34,

Baiocchi, Gianpaolo. (2003). “Participation, Activism and Politics: The Porto Alegre Experiment”. In: Archon Fung and Erik Olin Wright (eds.). Deepening Democracy: Institutional Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance. London: Verso. http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/Deepening.pdf

 

Barber, Benjamin R. (1984). Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a New Age. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp 117-122 and 139-162.

 

Barnes, Marian. (2008). “Passionate participation”, Critical Social Policy, vol. 28(4), pp 461-481.

 

Benhabib, Seyla. (1995). “Toward a Deliberative Model of Democratic Legitimacy”. In Seyla Benhabib (eds.). Democracy and Difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

 

Beste, Simon & Wyss, Dominik. (2019). “Quantitative Methods in Democratic Innovation Research”. In Elstub, E. and O. Escobar (eds.). Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance, Edward Elgar.

 

Bevir, Mark & Bowman, Quinlan. (2018). “Qualitative Assessment of Deliberation”. In: Bächtiger, A., Dryzek, J., Mansbridge, J. and Warren, M.E. (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Deliberative Democracy, Oxford Oxford University Press.

 

Brown, Juanita & Isaacs, David. (2005). The World Café: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter. San Fransisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. pp 163-176 [13pp]

 

Chambers, Simone. 2009. “Rhetoric and the Public Sphere: Has Deliberative Democracy Abandoned Mass Democracy?”, Political Theory, vol. 37(3), pp 323-350.

Dahl, Robert. (1995). “Democratic Theory and Democratic Experience”. In Seyla Benhabib (eds.). Democracy and Difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

 

Dahlberg, Lincoln. (2015). “Radical Democracy”. In Benjamin Isakhan and Stephen Stockwell (eds.). The Edinburgh Companion to the History of Democracy. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

 

Davies, Ben B.; Blackstock, Kirsty & Rauschmayer, Felix. (2005). “`Recruitment', `composition', and `mandate' issues in deliberative processes: should we focus on arguments rather than individuals?”, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, vol. 23, pp. 599-615.

 

Dryzek, John S. & Niemeyer, Simon. (2008). “Discursive Representation”, American Political Science Review, vol. 102, No. 4 November, pp 481-493.

 

Elstub, Steven & Escobar, Oliver. (2019). “Defining and typologising democratic innovations”. In: Steven Elstub and Oliver Escobar (eds.). Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance. Edward Elgar.

Escobar, Oliver. (2019). “Facillitators: the micropolitics of public participation and deliberation”. In: Steven Elstub and Oliver Escobar (eds.). Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance. Edward Elgar.

 

Farrell, David M., Jane Suiter & Clodagh Harris. (2019). “Systematizing constitutional deliberation: the 2016–18 citizens’ assembly in Ireland”, Irish Political Studies, 34:1,113-123.

 

Farrell, David et al. (2019). “Deliberative Mini-Publics Core Design Features”, Working Paper Series No. 2019/5, Centre for Deliberative Democracy & Global Governance, University of Canberra, https://www.governanceinstitute.edu.au/magma/media/upload/ckeditor/files/Deliberative%20Mini-Publics%20Core%20Design%20Features.pdf

 

Floridia, Antonio. (2018). “The Origins of the Deliberative Turn”. In: Bächtiger, A., Dryzek, J., Mansbridge, J. and Warren, M.E. (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Deliberative Democracy, Oxford Oxford University Press.

 

Fung, Archon. (2003). “Survey Article: Recipes for Public Spheres: Eight institutional design choices and their consequences”, The Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol.11 (3): 338-367

 

Fung, Archon & Wright, Erik Olin. (2003) “Thinking about Empowered Participatory Governance”. In: Archon Fung and Erik Olin Wright (eds.). Deepening Democracy: Institutional Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance. London: Verso. http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/Deepening.pdf, pp 15-29

 

Ganuza, E. and Baiocchi, G. (2012). “The Power of Ambiguity: How Participatory Budgeting Travels the Globe”. Journal of Public Deliberation, 8(2), Article 8.

Ganzua, E. and G. Baiocchi. (2019). “The long journey of participatory budgeting”. In: Steven Elstub and Oliver Escobar (eds.). Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance. Edward Elgar. Chapter 5.

 

Gastil, John & Richards, Robert. (2013). “Making Direct Democracy Deliberative through Random Assemblies”. Politics and Society, 41(2) 253-281.

 

Gerber, Marléne; Bächtiger, André; Shikano, Susumu; Reber, Simon & Rohr, Samuel. (2016). “Deliberative Abilities and Influence in a Transnational Deliberative Poll (EuroPolis)”, B.J.Pol.S. 48, pp 1093-1118,

 

Grönlund, Kimmo; Herne, Kaisa & Sätäla, Maija. (2015). “Does Enclave Deliberation Polorize Opinions?”, Political Behavior, 37: 995-1020.

 

Grönlund, Kimmo & Herne, Kaisa. (2019). “Using Experiments to Study Democratic Innovations”. In Elstub, E. and O. Escobar (eds.). Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance, Edward Elgar.

 

Gutmann, Amy. (1995). “Democracy, Philosophy, and Justification”. In Seyla Benhabib (eds.). Democracy and Difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

 

Habermas, Jürgen. (1990). Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action. Maldon/Cambridge: Polity Press, pp 76-109.

Habermas, Jürgen. (1996). Between Facts and Norms. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Chapter 7.

 

Honig, Bonnie. (2007). “Between Decision and Deliberation: Political Paradox in Democratic Theory”, American Political Science Review, vol. 101(1), pp 1-17.

 

John S. Dryzek, André Bächtiger, Simone Chambers, Joshua Cohen, James N. Druckman, Andrea Felicetti, James S. Fishkin, David M. Farrell, Archon Fung, Amy Gutmann, Hélène Landemore, Jane Mansbridge, Sofie Marien, Michael A. Neblo, Simon Niemeyer, Maija Setälä, Rune Slothuus, Jane Suiter, Dennis Thompson and Mark E. Warren. (2019). “The Crisis of Democracy and the Science of Deliberation, Science, vol. 363 (6432), pp 1144-1146

 

Joss, Simon. (1998). “Danish Consensus Conferences as a Model of Participatory Technology Assessment: An Impact Study of Consensus Conferences on Danish Parliament and Danish Public Debate”, Science and Public Policy 25: 2–22.

 

Jäske, M and M. Setälä. (2019). “Referendums and citizens’ initiatives”. In Elstub, E. and O. Escobar (eds.). Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance, Edward Elgar. Chapter 6.

 

Kaner, Sam. (2014). Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision-Making. San Fransisco: Jossey Bass. Chapter 1.

 

Kaufmann, B. (2012). “Transnational ‘Babystep’: The European Citizens' Initiative”. In: Theo Schiller and Maija Setälä (eds.). Citizens’ Initiatives in Europe: Procedures and Consequences of Agenda-Setting by Citizens. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Chapter 13.

 

Lafont, Christina. (2015). “Deliberation, Participation, and Democratic Legitimacy: Should Deliberative Mini-publics Shape Public Policy?”, The Journal of Political Philosophy, vol. 23(1), pp 40-63.

Lang, A. (2007). “But Is It for Real? The British Columbia Citizens’ Assembly as a Model of State-Sponsored Citizen Empowerment”, Politics and Society, 35: 35 –69.

 

Lupia, A., and Matsusaka, J.G. (2004). “Direct Democracy: New Approaches to Old Questions”. Annual Review of Political Science 7:463-82.

 

Mouffe, Chantal. (2009). The Democratic Paradox. London: Verso. Chapter 4.

 

Niemeyer, Simon. (2011). “The Emancipatory Effect of Deliberation: Lessons from Mini-Publics”, Politics and Society, 39(1) 103-140.

 

O’Flynn, Ian. (2019). “Democratic innovations and theories of democracy”. In: Steven Elstub and Oliver Escobar (eds.). Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance. Edward Elgar. Chapter 2.

 

Owen, Harrison. (2008). Open Space Technology: A User's Guide. San Fransisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Chapter 4.

 

Pateman, Carole. (1970). Participation and Democratic Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chapter 2.

 

Etc.

Oral
Individual
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Free assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28