This paper presents a critical assessment of current initiatives to deepen democracy and seeks to examine why they often fail. By analysing their various, and conflicting, conceptions of participation and associational life, it argues that many of the difficulties they encounter can be attributed to a usually unexamined set of organisational assumptions. These assumptions are then inspected in order to analyse the breakdown of communication that can occur between incumbent social engineers trying to institutionalize more democracy, and those more critical and grassroots initiatives which emanate from the periphery of power. With this distinction in view, a series of recurrent problems around the institutionalization of democratic processes are investigated. Finally, the paper explores the implications of the distinction for how we can aid and deepen democracy more effectively.
|Journal citation||50 (1), pp. 102-116|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9248.00361|