Integrating representative and participatory democracy : towards a Brazilian pro-active ombudsman model?

  • Samuel Antunes Antero

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis explores a contentious argument that has significant implications for how we understand contemporary democratic theory and practice. The argument proceeds from the observation that most democracies are experiencing significant stress due to the failure of political institutions and politicians to adapt to social and economic change and address issues of public concern and create public value. This is largely a product of those institutions being underpinned by 19th century democratic values rooted in a limited liberal view of representation and a conservative view of responsibility which leads to a systemic division of labour between the political elite and the exiguously participating electorate. The problem with this approach is that most of the public policy issues confronting societies today require coproduced solutions with the citizenry and by implication a more participatory democratic settlement. This observation recognizes that there is more to democracy than voting; it requires ongoing engagement with the citizenry. By implication, the logical solution to addressing the disconnection between citizen and government lies in the effective integration of representative and participatory forms of democracy. Yet there is a propensity in both democratic theory and practice to emphasize either representative or participatory roads to renewal in a zero-sum or binary game. This neglects two important factors: 1) that the involvement of politicians is integral to the long-term sustainability and legitimacy of democratic innovation; and 2) the evidence suggests that it is easier, not to mention more efficient, to build reform on stable, respected institutions.
    Date of Award2017
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMark Evans (Supervisor), Gerry Stoker (Supervisor) & Selen Ayirtman Ercan (Supervisor)

    Cite this