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Democratic Innovations


  • Page extent: 232 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.38 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521730709)

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$27.99 (G)

Can we design institutions that increase and deepen citizen participation in the political decision making process? At a time when there is growing disillusionment with the institutions of advanced industrial democracies, there is also increasing interest in new ways of involving citizens in the political decisions that affect their lives. This book draws together evidence from a variety of democratic innovations from around the world, including participatory budgeting in Brazil, Citizens' Assemblies on Electoral Reform in Canada, direct legislation in California and Switzerland and emerging experiments in e-democracy. The book offers a rare systematic analysis of this diverse range of democratic innovations, drawing lessons for the future development of both democratic theory and practice.


Introduction; 1. Studying democratic innovations: an analytical framework; 2. Popular assemblies: from New England town meetings to participatory budgeting; 3. Mini-publics: assemblies by random selection; 4. Direct legislation: direct democracy through the ballot box; 5. E-democracy: the promise of information and communication technology; 6. Realising the goods of democratic institutions; Conclusion.


"Overall, the analysis is quite clear and convincing...Recommended."
-CHOICE, A. Siaroff, University of Lethbridge

"The discussion of each [institution] is thorough, detailed, and logical, allowing the reader not previously familiar with the institution to easily follow the argument... Smith's book offers a through review and thought-provoking discussion."
Political Science Quarterly, Maria Escobar-Lemmon, Texas A&M University

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