Open government

Open Democracy and New Democratic Institutions: Workshop




Exciting innovations in democratic theory and practice are taking shape amidst widespread concerns about the strength of democratic systems in a world destabilised by financial and economic uncertainties, deep political divisions and unprecedented disruption of daily life on a global scale.

In the next few years, democratic innovations may transform the standard conception of democracy as driven by elected representatives supported by professionalised public administrations. Citizens will increasingly demand and expect inclusion in policy making at all stages: in shaping and expressing the values and goals of democratic society; in identifying and selecting policy options; in deliberating public choices; and in making final decisions about long-term and short-term policies.

The workshop begins with a discussion of Hélène Landemore‘s new book Open Democracy: Reinventing popular rule for the 21st Century – a study of democracy which proposes an institutional paradigm of popular rule that is primarily non-electoral yet promises to be more democratically representative than any currently existing regime form. The author‘s talk is followed by commentaries by Salvör Nordal, Jón Ólafsson and Alex Hudson, who focus on the general argument of the book but also more specifically on the discussion offered of the Icelandic Constitutional Council and its meaning for democratic innovations.

The second half of the workshops expands the discussion of the implications of Hélène Landemore‘s book to a recently published report by the OECD, Innovative Citizen Participation and New Democratic Institutions: Catching the Deliberative Wave. Claudia Chwalisz from the Open Government Unit will talk about the report, which documents how deliberative processes work across different countries, identifies common principles and good practices that may be of useful guidance to policy makers seeking to develop and implement such processes, and discusses different options for institutionalising citizen deliberation.

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