Brigitte Geissel

I mproving the Quality of Democracy at the Local Level: German Experiences with Participative Democratic Innovations

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: German politics, local politics, democratic innovations, direct democracy, deliberative democracy

Despite the world-wide triumphant progress and obvious superiority of democracy, the quest for an optimal «politike» has not reached the «end of history » (Fukuyama). Quite the opposite is the case: many democracies are facing increasing malaises. Democratic, participative innovations are often regarded as a solution. The Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) is an especially interesting case for scrutinizing the benefits (and threats) of participative innovations. Since its founding in 1949, its political system has rested firmly on the principle of representative democracy. Today however, the concept of representative democracy is under pressure and Germany has tested several participative innovations - especially at the local level. After a short description of local politics in Germany I will develop a framework for the evaluation of democratic innovations and explain the method I used in my study. The core of my presentation is the report about experiences in Germany with participative innovations at the local level and the analyses of their impacts. In my conclusion I summarize the findings and draw some implications for the world of politics.

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