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ECPR 50th Anniversary Fund

From Democratic Innovations to Democratic Institutions? The Challenges of Institutionalising New Forms of Citizens’ Participation

Europe (Central and Eastern)
Latin America
Political Participation
Referendums and Initiatives
Political Sociology
Panel Number
Panel Chair
Dimitri Courant
Université de Lausanne
Panel Co-Chair
Guillaume Petit
Université catholique de Louvain
Panel Discussant
Vincent Jacquet
Université catholique de Louvain

25/08/2018 09:00 - 10:40
Building: VMP 8 Floor: 1 Room: 106
In order for democratic innovations to meat great expectations, is institutionalisation a clear improvement, a necessary way, or a betrayal of their spirit? As the “crisis of representative democracy” seems to deepen, democratic innovations might become institutions, which are “a permanent answer to a permanent problem” (Berger & Luckman, 1967). But moving from ad hoc and ephemeral experimentations to long-term official structures presents both promises, challenges and risks. Instead of taking “institution” as a static object, the point is to study “institutionalisation” as an ongoing process; shaken by conflicts, never linear and that no one fully controls (Lagroye & Offerlé, 2011).

1) Is there actually an institutionalisation trend of democratic innovations, and what are its indicators? What opposition does it faces? What risks does it raises? Why after decades of experimental attempts and the rise of a “deliberative imperative” (Blondiaux & Sintomer, 2002), institutionalisation still seems rare?

2) What processes, actors and contexts turn democratic innovations into new democratic institutions? Which configurations can lead to a success or a failure? Does the transition from innovation to institution change the “spirit” of the structure? Are the international transfers of devices producing a standardisation?

3) What kind of effects does the institutionalisation of democratic innovations create? On the institutional system (macro), on the organisation and public policies (meso), on the individuals (micro)? How do participatory institutions construct (or fail to construct) a specific type of “citizens”, and how those individuals adjust to such roles or subvert them?

This panel will gather papers based on various cases and methods, from diverse countries and levels; local, national or international, and based on empirical data and actual case studies; either from a monographic or a comparative perspective.

Paper List

Title Details
Greater or Lesser Institutionalisation? French Local Participatory Policies Between Unfinished Institutionalisation and Continuous Experimental Attempt View Paper Details
Introducing Mechanisms of Direct Democracy in the Mexican States: The Case of Mexico City View Paper Details
Strife in the Construction of the Role of Citizens: The Case of Participatory Budgeting in Paris View Paper Details
The Institutionalisation of Deliberative Democracy in Ireland. The Irish Citizens’ Assemblies from Informal Margins to Official Centre View Paper Details
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