Mending Democracy: Democratic Repair in Disconnected Times

ISBN : 9780198843054

Carolyn M. Hendriks; Selen A. Ercan; John Boswell
208 Pages
153 x 234 mm
Pub date
Oct 2020
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The fabric of contemporary democracy in many liberal Western societies is in tatters. Citizens are disconnected from their elected representatives, they are fractured and polarised in the public sphere, and alienated from increasingly complex systems of public policy. These disconnects-in the representative relationship, in the public sphere, and in the policy-making process-are weakening the very fabric of our democracies. This book develops the idea of democratic mending as a way of advancing a more connective and systemic approach to democratic repair. It is informed by three rich empirical cases of connectivity in practice, as well as cutting-edge debates in deliberative democracy. The empirical cases uncover empowering and transformative modes of citizen participation and civic engagement that are vital for democratic renewal. The actors in this book are not withdrawing, resisting or seeking autonomy from conventional institutions of representative democracy but actively experimenting with ways to improve and engage with them. Through their everyday practices of democratic mending they undertake crucial systemic repair work and strengthen the integrity of our democratic fabric in ways that are yet to be fully acknowledged by scholars and practitioners of democratic reform.


1 Repairing Democracy's Disconnects
2 Conceptualising Connectivity in Deliberative Democracy
3 Connecting Elected Representatives with their Constituents: The Case of Indi
4 Connecting Publics in a Fractured Public Sphere: The Case of Knitting Nannas Against Gas
5 Connecting Citizens and Administrative Policy-Making: The Case of British Healthcare Agencies
6 Connective Practices: The Everyday Work of Democratic Mending
7 Towards a Connective Turn in Deliberative Democracy
8 Advancing a Connective Approach to Democratic Reform

About the author: 

Carolyn M. Hendriks is an Associate Professor at the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University. Her work examines democratic aspects of contemporary governance, including participation, deliberation, inclusion and representation. Carolyn has undertaken numerous empirical research projects in Australia, Germany and the Netherlands on the role of interests, power, networks, markets and elites in participatory modes of governing. She has published widely on different aspects of public engagement in public policy and politics including two books, over 30 scholarly journal articles, and numerous book chapters. Carolyn is an appointed individual member of the global network Democracy R&D. She also sits on the new Democracy Foundation's Research Committee, and on the editorial boards of several international journals, including the European Journal of Political Research, Policy and Society and the Journal of Deliberative Democracy.; Selen A. Ercan is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra. Her work sits at the intersection of normative democratic theory and empirical political research, and examines a wide range of topics including the politics of inclusion and exclusion in multicultural societies, public deliberation in the face of value conflicts and polarised public debates, and the potential of new forms of political participation and protest movements in reviving democratic practice. Selen's publications on these topics have appeared in various journals including International Political Science Review, Policy and Politics, Democratic Theory, Social Movement Studies, and Critical Policy Studies. ; John Boswell is an Associate Professor in Politics at the University of Southampton. His work on deliberative democracy and democratic renewal draws on other key interests in policy studies and interpretive methods and theory. He has published conceptual and empirical work on these themes in journals such as Political Studies, Perspectives on Politics, Policy Sciences, and the European Journal of Political Research.

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