- Do-ocracy's democratic anchorage
- ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops 2014, Salamanca
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Amidst the worldwide euphoria among public authorities and political scientists for direct forms of democracy such as participatory budgeting, we see an increasing (policy) attention for another form of direct democracy, which can be labeled ‘do-ocracy’. Do-ocracy refers to active citizens who wish to contribute to the public domain by simply doing things instead of voting, deliberating or negotiating. By e.g. restructuring the local playground or setting up house work classes for deprived children citizens influence the public domain. This does not imply that do-ocracy is unpolitical, it simply means that political action such as reflecting on practices or discussing what to do next is highly informal and functional to ‘doing’.
In The Netherlands do-ocracy is the new buzzword amongst politicians and policy makers. All important advisory boards of Dutch government have written reports which boil down to the advice that government should become more serving to the needs of these do-it-themselves citizens and be modest in what it wants to accomplish itself. The democratic innovation thus does not lie in government developing (deliberative) practices to engage citizens in political decision making but in government adjusting to do-ocracy in ways which will maximally enable these practices, and also see to it that citizens behave democratically amongst themselves.
In this paper we will theoretically unpack the idea of do-ocracy and empirically analyze two Dutch policy lines on do-ocracy: a facilitative line for enabling bottom up forms of doing and a stimulating line trying to mobilize citizens in deprived neighborhoods to start of with ‘doing’. We will also empirically investigate the democratic implications of these policies in practice, based on extensive case study research done by the first two authors of this paper over the last few years.
- Paper for the joint session on Systematising Comparison of Democratic Innovations: Advanced explanations of the emergence,
sustenance and failure of participatory institutions
Publisher: European Consortium for Political Research