Innovating Democracy?

In her book WZB-researcher Thamy Pogrebinschi presents the first large-N cross-country study of democratic innovations to date, which provides a comprehensive account of democratic experimentation with citizen participation in Latin America over thirty years. It fills a gap in a field dominated by case studies of few democratic innovations which are seldom of a comparative nature.

Thamy Pogrebinschi will present her book on June, 1. at the WZB. More information here.

The book introduces a pragmatist, problem-driven approach to democratic innovations, which challenges the conventional understanding that such innovations are primarily designed to increase citizen participation in decision-making. Countering this common understanding, Thamy Pogrebinschi argues that citizen participation is a means to achieve an end, namely the enhancement of democracy. She contends that there are four primary means of citizen participation, namely deliberation, citizen representation, digital engagement, and direct voting, and claims that those means of participation combine with different ends according to the problem(s) they seek to address. Based on the empirical evidence, she contends that those ends are accountability, responsiveness, rule of law, social equality, and political inclusion.

In addition to that the book proposes the first typology of democratic innovations based on a large-N dataset of cases evolved at both national and subnational levels across eighteen countries for a period of thirty years. The typology comprises 20 subtypes of democratic innovations. It moreover offers a comparative account of democratic experimentation with citizen participation in Latin America from 1990 to 2020. Thamy Pogrebinschi argues that five factors facilitated the creation of democratic innovations in the region, namely democratization, constitutionalization, decentralization, the left turn, and digitalization.

The book draws on the dataset built by the LATINNO project, which Thamy Pogrebinschi coordinated at the WZB between 2015 and 2021. The LATINNO dataset comprises 3,744 democratic innovations from 18 countries in Latin America between 1990 and 2020.

24.04.2023 MP