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 16: Advocates: interest groups, civil society organisations and democratic innovation

Carolyn M. Hendriks


This chapter explores the mixed relationship between democratic innovation and advocates, such as associations and interest groups. On the one hand, advocates bring important knowledge, experience, and networks to democratic reform by representing and promoting their particular interests to decision makers and the broader public. Yet, on the other hand, many of the attributes and practices of advocacy sit in tension with the procedural rules and deliberative ideals of particular democratic innovations, such as mini publics. The chapter discusses various formal and informal roles that advocates play in and around democratic innovations. Nothwithstanding these roles current practices of democratic innovation pose challenges to the practice of advocacy; they provide little room for partisan perpsectives, and can appear overly structured and exclusive. Greater attention needs to be paid to possible opportunities to innovate in the activities of advocacy, but to do this requires understanding democratic innovation beyond discrete participatory forums.

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