Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance
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Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance

Edited by Stephen Elstub and Oliver Escobar

Democratic innovations are proliferating in politics, governance, policy, and public administration. These new processes of public participation are reimagining the relationship between citizens and institutions. This Handbook advances understanding of democratic innovations, in theory and practice, by critically reviewing their importance throughout the world. The overarching themes are a focus on citizens and their relationship to these innovations, and the resulting effects on political equality. The Handbook therefore offers a definitive overview of existing research on democratic innovations, while also setting the agenda for future research and practice.
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Chapter 23: Democratic innovation in constitutional reform

Ron Levy


This chapter describes diverse democratic innovations in constitutional reform and places them in their theoretical context. Reforms enabling greater public participation in constitutional reform tend to raise worries about the quality of popular deliberation. But with the rise of ‘popular sovereignty culture’, the traditional elite-led model of constitutional reform has come to seem inadequate. Constitutional reform that excludes public participation is often neither publicly trusted nor widely viewed as legitimate. Newer constitutional reform models thus seek to manage the sometimes contradictory aims of deliberation, public trust and constitutional legitimacy. This has led to energetic experimentation with new models of democratic constitutional reform that, in particular, can accommodate popular participation with other democratic values and concerns.

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