Edited by Stephen Elstub and Oliver Escobar
Chapter 38: Reflections on the theory and practice of democratic innovations
Bringing this impressive collection to a close, the concluding chapter offers critical reflections on how the field of study has matured. The concept of democratic innovations may lack conceptual precision, but it is a term that continues to resonate with academics, activists, practitioners and policy makers. A defining characteristic of the study of democratic innovations is its growing methodological sophistication, although more sustained attention is needed to trace the various impacts and outcomes of forms of participatory governance. Increasing engagement across academic boundaries to fully embrace the investigation of emerging digital formations and modes of participation in the economic realm and social movements will strengthen our understanding of the potential of participatory democracy. The chapter ends with the provocative question of whether the almost hegemonic status of deliberative democracy is healthy for the analysis of democratic innovations.
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