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Whose Government is it?The Renewal of State-Citizen Cooperation$
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Henry Tam

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781529200980

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529200980.001.0001

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Lessons From Democratic Innovations

Lessons From Democratic Innovations

(p.91) 6 Lessons From Democratic Innovations
Whose Government is it?

Graham Smith

Policy Press

Democratic innovations, variously described as ‘empowered participation’ or ‘civic innovation’, are designed to increase and deepen citizen participation in the decisions that affect them directly. This chapter reviews current understanding of participatory processes such as citizens’ assemblies, citizens’ juries, deliberative polling, participatory budgeting, study circles, town meetings, and online dialogues; and considers their impact along with an analysis of the implications of different participatory designs on democratic qualities and policy outcomes. One of the limitations of the burgeoning literature on democratic innovations is the tendency to focus on exemplary cases, which often underplays the variety of conditions that need to be in place for the success of these forms of public engagement. Close attention is given to the different approaches taken with participatory budgeting and randomly selected mini-publics in diverse contexts, to illustrate both the substantial potential of democratic innovations to improve democratic politics and their vulnerabilities to misapplication.

Keywords:   democratic innovations, citizen participation, democracy, participatory budgeting, citizens’ juries, public engagement

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