The democratic challenges and potential of localism: Insights from deliberative democracy

Selen Ercan, Carolyn Hendriks

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)


    This article considers the democratic challenges and potential of localism by drawing on insights from the theory and practice of deliberative democracy. On a conceptual level, the ideas embedded in localism and deliberative democracy share much in common, particularly the democratic goal of engaging citizens in decisions that affect them. Despite such commonalities, however, there has been limited conversation between relevant literatures. The article considers four democratic challenges facing localism and offers a response from a systems perspective of deliberative democracy. It argues that, for localism to realise its democratic potential, new participatory spaces are required and the design of these spaces matters. Beyond structured participatory forums, local democracy also needs an active and vibrant public sphere that promotes multiple forms of democratic expression. This requires taking seriously the democratic contributions of local associations and social movements. Finally, the article argues that, to fulfil its democratic potential, localism needs to encourage greater democratic and political connectivity between participatory forums and the broader public sphere
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)422-440
    Number of pages19
    JournalPolicy Studies
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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