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Frank Hendriks and Ank Michels

This chapter discusses initiatives for involving citizens in local and regional democracies. We examine initiatives that take an aggregative and majoritarian approach to citizen involvement, promoting a range of direct and plebiscitary additions to representative democracy. And we look at initiatives of participatory and deliberative democracy which take an integrative, non-majoritarian approach to public decision-making and public involvement. Reviewing the development of these initiatives, 2008 does not appear to be a dramatic turning point. The general trend is one of steady expansion and a broadening of initiatives that supplement representative democracy. Comparing 2020 with 2008, however, we conclude that there is an ever-expanding number and variety of citizen-involvement initiatives, that these initiatives do not replace existing democracy, but do potentially change how it works and thus also trigger fundamental questions about democratic rule, and that new ways of involving citizens by using digital tools are becoming more common.

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Lars-Hendrik Röller, Johan Stennek and Frank Verboven

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Wieke Blijleven, Merlijn van Hulst and Frank Hendriks

The increased importance of democratic innovation reshapes the role of government and politics, including that of civil servants. Although public servants play an important role in making democratic innovations work in practice, a comprehensive overview of their roles and practices in democratic innovation is missing. This chapter develops such an overview, by drawing on insights from research on front-line work in governance, democratic professionalism, process facilitation, boundary spanning and meta-governance. These literatures show that civil servants can play a key role by facilitating democratic processes and community initiatives, and through sharing their knowledge and expertise, in ways that empower citizens. In addition, public servants share the fundamental challenge of connecting and translating between institutions, organizations and processes inside and outside city hall.