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After the Equilibrium: Democratic Innovations and Long-term Institutional Development in the City of Reykjavik
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6381-8692
2018 (English)In: Analyse & Kritik. Zeitung für linke Debatte und Praxis, ISSN 0171-5860, E-ISSN 2365-9858, Vol. 40, no 1, p. 31-53Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Although democratic innovations (DIs) are spread all over the world, there is little research on the institutional outcomes of implementing such innovations in governmental organisations. To remedy this, it is important to focus on cases where DIs have been implemented and formally connected to the policymaking process over a longer period. Reykjavik provides such a case. Drawing on observations and interviews with key stakeholders over a period of three years, this study analyses how the institutional logic of DIs influenced the local government in Reykjavik. The study presents two conclusions: First, it is clear that one equilibrium (representative democracy) has not been replaced by another (participatory democracy). Second, there is no peaceful co-existence between the two, but instead the outcome is an organisation in ‘a state of flux’. There are several factors contributing to this outcome, but three stand out: a populist power-shift, dissatisfaction with theworking of the implemented DIs and deliberative ambiguity. In the final part of the article, the institutional outcome is discussed in relation to overall consequences for the political system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lucius und Lucius Verlagsgesellschaft, 2018. Vol. 40, no 1, p. 31-53
Keywords [en]
Democratic innovations, ICT, local government, institutional logics
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-69066DOI: 10.1515/auk-2018-0002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85048634224OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-69066DiVA, id: diva2:1251136
Available from: 2018-09-26 Created: 2018-09-26 Last updated: 2018-11-19Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Democratic innovations in political systems: towards a systemic approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Democratic innovations in political systems: towards a systemic approach
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

There are many indicators that the representative democratic system is currently facing serious legitimacy challenges. Two central indicators of these challenges are changing patterns of political participation and a decline in system support. Against this backdrop, a growing number of governments claim that democratic innovations (DIs) could reconnect institutions with citizens. This thesis focuses on online DIs implemented in real political contexts, and the overarching aim of the thesis is to contribute to the emergent empirical scholarship on how DIs can influence political systems. In the last two decades, most empirical studies in the field have analysed DIs at the micro level.

This thesis takes a different stance by posing system-related research questions to the implementation of DIs and, by doing so, showing how DIs are interrelated with, rather than isolated from, the political system and that DIs can influence political systems. The thesis consists of one literature review and three empirical case studies, applying a multiple methodological approach. Its novelty lies in three main empirical findings that contribute to the development of the field. First, it shows that participation in DIs can influence citizens’ perceived trust towards local political institutions. In addition, the results suggest that predispositions and prior engagement mediate the direction of change in trust amongst citizens. Secondly, the results show that DIs can perform different political functions, such as facilitating spaces for citizens to provide original ideas and deliberation, while also having an agenda-setting function. Thirdly, the result suggest that long-term institutional change is complex and that the implementation of DIs can create a situation in which civil servants and politicians perceive their organisation to be in some ‘state of flux’, as they are torn between two competing institutional logics. In conclusion, this thesis should be understood as a piece in a broader movement that works towards a systemic approach to the study of DIs, and that by showing these empirical findings, the thesis contributes to deepening our understanding of what influences and functions DIs can have in political systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro University, 2018. p. 126
Series
Örebro Studies in Political Science, ISSN 1650-1632 ; 42
Keywords
Democratic innovations, online political participation, political institutions, political trust, political systems
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-68711 (URN)978-91-7529-261-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-10-26, Örebro universitet, Prismahuset, Hörsal P1, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-09-04 Created: 2018-09-04 Last updated: 2018-11-19Bibliographically approved

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Adenskog, Magnus

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