A Second Transformation of Democracy?
The forms of representative democracy familiar to democratic theory are being overgrown by many new political forces that would appear to have democratic features. These include the rise of social movements, dramatic increases in the numbers and activities of civil society organizations, new forms of direct action, increasing use of referendums, devolution and de-concentration of decision-making and governance, stakeholder representation within bureaucracies, a growing use of the courts to press citizen interests, new experiments in deliberative democracy and collaborative governance, more vigorous public sphere debates about policies, public monitoring of government and corporate activities, new political uses of communication technologies, and small groups aggregated into networks that are now often global in scale. The first major transformation of democracy involved changes from pre-modern forms of local and direct democracy to modern forms of representative democracy. The question of whether these new changes so consequential that they amount to second major transformation of democracy is raised.
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