The weaknesses of representative democracy, the recurring problems in the process of political representation, and the partial failure of government accountability led to an increasing discontent of citizens towards political institutions and politicians. One solution to address this ‘democratic malaise’ has been the adoption of different democratic innovations (e.g. direct democracy, dialogue-oriented procedures) aiming to foster the effective inclusion of citizens in political decision-making. Over the last three decades democratic innovations gained momentum throughout the world both in terms of rules and use.
This summer school seeks to provide students with a fuller understanding of democratic innovations. The courses follow a student-centered approach and will discuss in detail their effects on communities, structures, systems, policies and citizens’ participation. It aims to identify and assess the benefits, disadvantages, functioning and challenges of democratic innovations in contemporary representative democracies. To achieve these objectives, the summer school will combine a broad array of theoretical approaches (made available to students in the reading package of every course) with methodological and empirical perspectives in every course (i.e. a hands-on approach). The sessions are divided in five days of teaching that alternate between the three major types of innovations: direct democracy, dialogue-oriented, and mixed. Students will be encouraged to actively participate in a series of applied exercises that will reveal the complexities of democratic innovations.
Target audience: The summer school is open primarily to PhD students, research master students and master students from Political Science, Sociology, European Studies, International Relations or related areas. A limited number of practitioners can participate as well. The summer school will accommodate a maximum number of 25 participants.
Fee and costs: Thanks to the support of the ECPR, the Standing Group on Democratic Innovations, and the organizing universities and partners, the registration fee amounts to only 100 € and covers accommodation, meals, coffee breaks, and all teaching activities in Brussels from Monday (26 August) till Friday (30 August). Participants are responsible for their own travel to and from Brussels.