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 32: Qualitative approaches to democratic innovations

Julien Talpin


Qualitative approaches to democratic innovations are less frequent that quantitative methods, but provide crucial understanding of the limits and potential of democratic innovations. Based mostly on interviews and ethnography, qualitative approaches appear useful to investigate in particular three type of research questions. First, why democratic innovations appear and take the form they do? Then, how deliberation takes place within democratic innovations and what type of power relationship occur? Finally, what effects it produces on both participants and public policies. The uneven distribution of qualitative approaches to democratic innovations across countries stems from different epistemological and methodological traditions, quantitative methods being especially dominant in anglo-saxon and nothern countries. The future of the field probably lies in greater interactions between qualitative and quantitative researchers.

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