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 17: The role of elected representatives in democratic innovations

Nivek Thompson


There has been limited research into the role of elected representatives in democratic innovations. What we do know suggests there can be significant tension between elected representatives’ view of their role in representative democracy and the role of citizens via democratic innovations. Where elected representatives do engage with democratic innovations their motivations maybe normative or instrumental or a mix of both. Elected representatives can also take on a number of different roles around democratic innovations including initiating, participating, responding, resisting and institutionalizing. Considering the role of elected representatives in democratic innovation raises larger normative questions around the role of citizens in representative democracy and whether democratic innovations could eventually challenge the institutions of representative democracy themselves.

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