Democracy is always in the making: a never-ending project that requires constant rethinking and development. There are many ways of understanding and practicing democracy, and this article is concerned with those that put citizens at the heart of democratic life.
My hope is that, in Scotland 44, politics will mean more than party politics, elections and media rituals; and democracy will mean more than representative democracy. Reclaiming and recasting politics and democracy is a core challenge for participatory democrats. The key argument is that citizen participation can reinvigorate democratic life by infusing diversity, experience and knowledge into official decision making. The question is what kind of participation.
Get a free copy of the Scotland 44 e-book HERE
Originally posted on DemocracySpot:
When it comes to the relationship between participatory institutions and development outcomes, participatory budgeting stands out as one of the best examples out there. For instance, in a paper recently published in World Development, Sonia Gonçalves finds that municipalities that adopted participatory budgeting in Brazil “favoured an allocation of public expenditures that closely matched the popular preferences and channeled a larger fraction of their total budget to key investments in sanitation and health services.” As a consequence, the author also finds that this change in the allocation of public expenditures “is associated with a pronounced reduction in the infant mortality rates for municipalities which adopted participatory budgeting.”
Now, in an excellent new article published in Comparative Political Studies, the authors Michael Touchton and Brian Wampler come up with similar findings (abstract):
We evaluate the…
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Petition for a National Council –A process to ensure participatory democracy after the Scottish referendum
I’m one of the many supporters of the non-partisan civic petition for a National Council to lead the process of involving citizens in shaping the future of Scottish democracy after the referendum.
You can see details about the petition, and sign up, by following this link.
The proposal is not a case either for or against independence, but a way forward towards a more participatory democracy. In the event of a Yes result, we will need a process to establish the terms for the negotiation with the rest of the UK, as well as a blueprint for a constitution-making process. In the case of a No result, we will still need a process to negotiate further devolution and establish the parameters of a more empowered Scottish democracy within the UK.
In both scenarios, our proposal seeks to avoid elite-driven decision-making and put citizens at the heart of politics and democratic life.
Want to know more? Click here.
This proposal is not intended as a case either for or against independence, it is a proposal in favour of a participatory Scotland. It focuses on issues which may arise very quickly and may have to be addressed equally quickly in the event of a Yes vote. However the participatory process it outlines represents an approach to decision making which would represent a leap forward in democratic decision-making irrespective of whether there is a Yes or No vote. – See more at: http://nationalcouncilscotland.org/#sthash.P2RHrSyY.d
Help So Say Scotland to crowd-source this great tool for citizen deliberation. More information HERE.
Venue: Playfair Library, Old College, University of Edinburgh
Democracy Max was a 13 month long citizen led inquiry into ‘what makes a good Scottish democracy’. Having analysed the findings, ERS Scotland now plans to hold a Convention on Scottish Democracy to discuss how we can make some of the aspirations of Democracy Max become reality.
The Democracy Max process has given us lots of experience and insights and we have decided that our focus should be on the extension of democratic power to a really local level, and to suggest ways that democracy can operate best when people have power in their own towns and communities.
Together with the Academy of Government at the University of Edinburgh, we are holding a day long deliberative discussion event focussed on finding campaign objectives for improving Scotland’s local democracy.
The day will also be about networking, relationship building, planning collaborations and creating synergies in order to create a strong campaign to reclaim local democracy.
We are inviting experts, academics, practitioners, advocates and critics to present ‘evidence sessions’ which will then be debated and discussed in facilitated deliberative format in order that the evidence can be thoroughly examined and future actions proposed.
24th and 25th March 2014
This is the 16th time that Wendy Faulkner and I deliver this course for the Beltane Network. The focus is on public engagement practice in research and policy contexts, with particular attention to dialogue, deliberation and facilitation skills.
The course is very hands-on, using several techniques and providing many opportunities to practice. It’s also a great chance to meet people from various fields, and who are interested in how dialogic communication can make a difference.
We hope you may join us!
‘Government by the People’, the Final Report of the Commission on Fair Access to Political Influence, is now out.
It makes for a stimulating read -full of ideas about how to improve Scottish democracy.
Stephen Elstub and I have written a brief for the Reid Foundation about deliberative mini-publics and their potential use to involve citizens in policy and decision making.
Over the last year, the Electoral Reform Society has involved citizens, researchers and opinion-makers in a much-needed deliberative process to consider what a good Scottish democracy might look like.
PPN’s Citizen Participation Network has been a partner in this exciting journey, and we’re pleased to share the final report of the process. The report is packed with thought-provoking ideas and will inform the ERS’s forthcoming campaign to improve democracy in Scotland.