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Political Research Exchange

Democratic Innovations: Responding to Great Challenges

Decision Making
Public Opinion
Section Number
Section Chair
Edana Beauvais
McGill University
Section Co-Chair
Matthew Ryan
University of Southampton

Although democratic innovations provide good news stories for advocates of political reform, political systems are still straining to provide basic democratic goods. Are democratic innovations a solution or a distraction from democracies’ greatest ills? How can innovation in democratic systems provide for empowered participation that develops personal preferences into enriched collective opinions and clever collective decisions? What kinds of democratic innovations are required to enhance the democratic capacities of political systems?

The 2018 ECPR Conference Democratic Innovations Section Proposal addresses these questions by bringing together advocates and sceptics of democratic innovations. This section is structured around three themes: I. Innovating Inclusions, II. Enriching Public-Opinion through Innovation, and III. Innovating Democratic Decision-Making. We invite paper and panel submissions that speak to any of the themes and questions listed below.


Democracy begins with inclusion. How can democratic innovations address challenges of inclusion in increasingly pluralised and globally interconnected societies?


Collective rule requires that people combine their personal preferences into collective agendas. How can democratic innovations harness the potential of new technologies, social movements, and institutional design for sharing useful information and making connections?


Growing global interdependencies, polarisation, and disaffected citizens contribute to political gridlock and fuel anti-democratic sentiments. How can democratic innovations support the decision- making capacities of democratic systems?

About the Section Chairs

Dr. Edana Beauvais is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship, McGill University. Her research considers how democratic innovations can be designed to neutralize inequalities and promote more inclusive deliberation and policy-making. She is a collaborator on the Participedia Project and a member of Equal Voice Canada. Her recent publications appear in the European Journal of Political Research, the Oxford Handbook of Deliberative Democracy, and PS: Political Science and Politics.

Dr. Matt Ryan is Lecturer in Governance and Public Policy at the University of Southampton. His research focuses on democratic innovation and participation in politics, the policymaking process, and social science research methods. He chairs the re- search committee of the Participedia Project, a global network of scholars and practitioners dedicated to understanding participatory democratic innovations. His most recent publications appear in the European Journal of Political Research, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, and Local Government Studies.

Panel List

Code Title Details
P047Citizen Acceptance of Hard Decisions View Panel Details
P050Citizens in Plebiscites: Direct Democratic Innovations View Panel Details
P081Deliberative Democracy and Populism View Panel Details
P082Deliberative Minipublics Facilitating Voter Knowledge and Judgement View Panel Details
P088Democratic Innovations and the Systems Turn View Panel Details
P104Elite Governance and Democratic Innovation View Panel Details
P126Evaluating Democratic Innovations View Panel Details
P128Exploring Digital Democratic Innovations View Panel Details
P132FEATURED PANEL Facing the Spectre of Populism: Innovations for Enhancing Recursive Representation (A Participedia Panel) View Panel Details
P143From the Grassroots to the Mayor’s Office: Social Movements, Democratic Innovation, and Participatory Dilemmas in New Progressive Governments View Panel Details
P144Future-Oriented Democratic Innovation View Panel Details
P167Innovation and Deliberation in the Context of Democratic Erosion View Panel Details
P225Online Platforms between Commercialisation and Democratic Innovation: The Role of Design View Panel Details
P244Passionate Argument or Emotional Blackmail? Investigating the Role of Emotions in Public Deliberation View Panel Details
P316Referendums as Democratic Institutions View Panel Details
P382The Future Challenges of Inclusion – A Theorists’ Response View Panel Details
P423The Role of the Citizen in Democratic Innovations View Panel Details
P425The Second Wave of Democratic Innovations: Democratic Renewal or New Tyranny? View Panel Details
P430The Youth and Democratic Innovations: A Special Species in the Field? View Panel Details
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