Decolonizing Democratic Innovations

Democratic innovations seek to reimagine democracy by deepening and amplifying the voices of ordinary people in the governance process. It is built on a deep-rooted conviction about the equality of all citizens and the role of democracy in promoting emancipation.

And yet, like many institutions and practices in western liberal democracies, democratic innovations have yet to confront the history of colonialism, slavery, and white supremacy on which contemporary democratic states are built. Democracy itself – along with its ideals of freedom and equality – have, in many cases, been weaponized for war, invasion, and perpetuation of white domination. To what extent do democratic innovations – whether claimed or invited spaces – and the theoretical perspectives that inform these emerging institutions perpetuate these colonial dynamics. What would it mean to decolonize democratic innovations as a set of practices and as a field of academic study?

This online public event will be led by scholars in the field of democratic theory and practice that have long called for a critical interrogation of democratic innovations’ emancipatory potential. It seeks to provoke reflection and critical dialogue among scholars of democratic innovations with a view to promoting collective learning and action.


Genevieve Fuji Johnson

Bonny Ibhawoh

Gina Starblanket

Hosted by Nicole Curato

29th November 2021, 5pm UK time.

This event is co-organised by the Centre for the Study of Democracy at the University of Westminster and the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra, with the support of the Political Studies Association’s Participatory and Deliberative Democracy Specialist Group and the Journal of Deliberative Democracy.

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