Spotlighting the Backstage Governance of Citizens Assemblies

Most attention on citizens assemblies understandably focuses on what happens on stage. What do the participants discuss and how deliberative are their interactions? But what happens on stage is in large part shaped by what is happening behind the scenes – for example, who decides what the agenda for discussion is, and how? In a new report from the Global Citizens’ Assemblies Network (GloCAN), we examine these backstage governance practices in cases from across the world and ask what they tell us about how to organise a global assembly.

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Can citizen deliberation address the climate crisis? Not if it is disconnected from politics and policymaking

A large number of national climate assemblies have been set up across Europe to enable citizens to make climate policy recommendations. But do these bodies have any impact? Drawing on new research, John Boswell, Rikki Dean and Graham Smith argue that greater attention should be paid to how these assemblies can be integrated into the world of politics.


Some rough, pessimistic thoughts on the political economy problem of climate assemblies

Across advanced democracies citizens’ assemblies on climate change – randomly selected, deliberative initiatives of usually between 100-200 people – are increasingly being adopted in the hope that they can address democratic politics current failures on climate policy. My fear is that, as institutional design solutions to what is more a problem of political economy, these climate assemblies are destined to fail. But I share these rough thoughts in the hope that more optimistic readers might convince me that I am wrong.


Bürgerrat Demokratie: Abschlussbericht der wissenschaftlichen Evaluation

Der Abschlussbericht fasst die Ergebnisse der wissenschaftlichen Evaluation des Beteiligungsverfahrens „Bürgerrat Demokratie“ durch die Forschungsstelle Demokratische Innovationen der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main zusammen, die den Beteiligungsprozess ab Juni 2019 bis November 2019 begleitete.  


What is Democratic Theory? A New Special Issue

A new special issue of the journal Democratic Theory, co-edited with Jean-Paul Gagnon and Hans Asenbaum, tackles the question of “What is democratic theory?”. It is a surprisingly infrequently posed question in the field. With contributions from Michael Saward, John Keane, Carole Pateman, Graham Smith and many others.