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Participatory democracy is a process emphasizing the broad participation of constituents in the direction and operation of political systems. Etymological roots of democracy (Greek demos and kratos) imply that the people are in power and thus that all democracies are participatory. However, traditional representative democracy tends to limit citizen participation to voting, leaving actual governance to politicians.[citation needed]

Participatory democracy strives to create opportunities for all members of a political group to make meaningful contributions to decision-making, and seeks to broaden the range of people who have access to such opportunities. Because so much information must be gathered for the overall decision-making process to succeed, technology may provide important forces leading to the type of empowerment needed for participatory models, especially those technological tools that enable community narratives and correspond to the accretion of knowledge. Effectively increasing the scale of participation, and translating small but effective participation groups into small world networks, are areas currently being studied.[1]

Some scholars argue (for a cause) for refocusing the term on community-based activity within the domain of civil society, based on the belief that a strong non-governmental public sphere is a precondition for the emergence of a strong liberal democracy.[2] These scholars tend to stress the value of separation between the realm of civil society and the formal political realm.[3]

Contents

Political variants

Political variants of participatory democracy include:

Representative democracy is not generally considered participatory. Bioregional democracy is often but not necessarily participatory. Grassroots democracy is an alternative term that has been used to imply almost any combination of the above.[citation needed]

New concepts such as open source governance, collaborative governance, P2P governance, open source politics, and open politics seek to radically increase participation through electronic collaboration tools such as wikis and 'wikigovernment'.

Participatory politics (or parpolity) is a long-range political theory that also incorporates many of the above and strives to create a political system that will allow people to participate in politics, as much as possible in a face-to-face manner.[citation needed]

Panocracy or 'pantocracy' also has similarities with participatory democracy. However, it avoids the concept of demos or the people having a single view with the inevitable limitations that come from trying to agree what that view is. It also avoids the expectations that attach to anything called democracy.[citation needed]

Demarchy is a hypothetical system where government is heavily decentralized into smaller independent groups. Each group is responsible for one or several functions in society. Officials are volunteers elected to committees controlling these groups by sortition. The system seeks to avoid problems with centralized and electoral governance, while still providing a stable democratic system.[citation needed]

Social movements practicing participatory democracy

See also

External links

Footnotes

  1. ^ Shirky, Clay "Here Comes Everybody"
  2. ^ Alternative Conceptions of Civil Society, edited by Simone Chambers and Will Kymlicka (Princeton University Press, 2002)
  3. ^ The Idea of Civil Society, by Adam B. Seligman (Princeton University Press, 1992)
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