Beyond citizens' assemblies: Expanding the repertoire of democratic reform

John Boswell, Carolyn M. Hendriks, Selen A. Ercan

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


There is broad support for democratizing the policy process by better connecting mass publics and governing elites. In policy terms, these efforts have become closely associated with deliberative mini-publics, especially CAs (CA). The wisdom accumulated on these novel practices is impressive, but also highlights important limitations. Drawing on recent developments in deliberative theory and our own empirical work on other democratic practices, we suggest expanding the repertoire of democratic reform beyond the current focus of "designing" one-off novel deliberative forums to thinking more systemically about ways to "mend" the fabric of democracy. Democratic mending involves strengthening and sustaining democratic connections between people and the processes and institutions that govern them. We argue that mending is a vital component both of better integrating forums like CAs into their political and administrative context, and, more radically, for expanding the repertoire of practices for democratic reform in contemporary governance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDe Gruyter Handbook of Citizens' Assemblies
Publisherde Gruyter
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9783110758269
ISBN (Print)9783110758153
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2023


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