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Reconstructing democracy: current thinking and new directions

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  • Ecology
  • Political Science


Open Research Online The Open University’s repository of research publications and other research outputs Reconstructing democracy: current thinking and new directions Journal Article How to cite: Saward, Michael (2001). Reconstructing democracy: current thinking and new directions. Government and Opposition, 36(4), pp. 559–581. For guidance on citations see FAQs. c© [not recorded] Version: [not recorded] Link(s) to article on publisher’s website: Copyright and Moral Rights for the articles on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copy- right owners. For more information on Open Research Online’s data policy on reuse of materials please consult the policies page. 559RECONSTRUCTING DEMOCRACY Michael Saward Reconstructing Democracy: Current Thinking and New Directions TODAY’S DEMOCRATIC THEORY OFFERS SKETCHES OF TOMORROW’S democratic polity. How innovative, and how compelling, are the visions it offers us? This article explores possible democratic futures by scanning a selection of today’s key democratic innovations — cosmopolitan, deliberative, ‘politics of presence’, ecological, associative and party-based direct models — in the light of a set of six central issues useful for examining the core aspects of democratic theories. It concludes by suggesting a way forward in which insights from diverse innovations might helpfully be accommodated within an overarching framework. Overall, it represents a deliberate attempt at a bird’s eye view of the subject; the aim is to be suggestive rather than definitive. The scope of the analysis is broad but quite strictly qualified in the following ways: the six innovative ideas scrutinized arise from, and largely address, countries of the rich North rather than the developing South; they do not exhaust the range of current innovations in democratic theory; and they are based largely on English-language sources. A convincing yardstick is neede

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