Resetting the Boundaries: from Democratic Innovations to Participatory (Self-)Governance
In recent years we have witnessed a growing wave of deliberative and participatory institutions taken up by governments and gaining traction in the public space, especially in (but not limited to) the Global North. These processes are gradually becoming embedded in government structures and designed to impact policymaking, fuelling hopes that democratic innovations can fix challenged democracies, or even replace representative institutions. Other voices are increasingly stressing their limitations; for example, due to their reliance on lottocracy, while also signalling the dominance of resource-rich cases, contexts, and researchers in the field and the problematic absence of truly equitable exchanges between ‘the West and the Rest’.
This Section encourages us to broaden the scope of discussion to reflect the diversity of institutional, non-institutional, and anti-institutional forms of citizen participation. It also asks how non-participants and participants alike evaluate and are included in these processes.
We invite papers creating conversations among different types of participatory processes (be it mini-publics, referenda, participatory budgeting, e-democracy mechanisms, consultations or civic engagement spaces), various modes of participation (organised with, without or despite state institutions), and we aim to build bridges across geographic contexts and individual circumstances of those participating.
We particularly welcome papers that capture flexible, problem-driven, context-dependent, and adaptive approaches to participatory governance and political systems, including methodological innovations in measuring them. They might address some of the following questions:
- Institutional Participation: Innovations with and beyond Deliberation
How do multiple channels and processes of engaging citizens contribute to overall democratic quality and state institutions? How do they interact with each other? How are participatory innovations embedded in larger institutional and civic (eco)systems, and (how) do they impact policy and governance?
- Non-institutional Participation: Innovations by Citizens, Movements, and Civil Society
What kinds of innovations emerge under different governance systems? How do they operate under different sociopolitical contexts and infrastructures? How do citizens co-govern over wicked, global, and glocal challenges? How do citizens make sense of and imagine democracy and societal life? How do people think about (different types of) political participation? Who participates, who doesn’t, and why?
- Anti-institutional Participation: Innovations beyond the (Western) Canon
How does participation take place beyond invited and invented spaces? (How) Do citizens claim and enact co-convening powers beyond designed institutions for participation? Can deliberation and participation be decolonised, and how?
We are open to panel proposals and individual paper proposals. Panel proposals must leave at least one paper slot open – the section co-convenors will assign individual papers to complete those panels representing the diversity across the field. We especially invite panel proposers to balance gender and career stage. All-male panels will not be accepted.
Panels and papers must be submitted via the ECPR platform until February 28th, 2023. Please refer to the ECPR General Conference Guidelines here: https://ecpr.eu/Events/Event/Content?ID=1202&EventID=214.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the section co-conveners, Franziska Maier, Julien Vrydagh, and Melisa Ross.