The University of Southampton
Courses

PAIR3038 Innovations in Democratic Governance

Module Overview

Following reflection on competing theories of democracy and governance, the module evaluates a series of contemporary innovations in democratic governance that aim to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public policymaking and deepened citizen participation in political decision making

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Governance is the complex process of making binding collective decisions. The aim of the module is to explore both normative and empirical questions about the nature of democratic governance, with particular focus on the evolving relationship between citizens and the state (including different types of public authority). In the modern democratic state, citizens can at different times play the roles of stakeholder, decision-maker, agenda-setter, provider or customer/consumer of public services. Following reflection on competing theories of democracy and governance, the module evaluates a series of contemporary innovations in democratic governance that aim to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public policymaking and deepen citizen participation in political decision making. These include participatory budgeting, mini-publics, civic technologies, direct legislation, citizen science, and nudging. Teaching takes the form of lectures, seminars and workshops. Students are assessed by two separate submissions. 60% of marks for the course are assessed individually in an academic essay on topics covered in the first half of the course. The second submission (40%) comprises research culminating in the publication of a case-study for the www.participedia.net project.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Apply skills in communicating using information technology and contributing to online crowdsourcing of data
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of different approaches and frameworks to understanding democratic theory and practice and the relationship between citizens and the state (and other public authorities).
  • Distinguish between different theoretical traditions and offer theoretically-informed analysis of developments in democratic practice
  • Apply skills in different types of written communication including writing case studies for general audiences
  • Analyse data on participation and effective government
  • Apply oral communication and presentation skills

Syllabus

1. Why citizen participation in governance? 2. Barriers to citizen participation: the voice of the sceptics and critics 3. Contemporary theories of democracy and governance 4. Limits of elections and consultation 5. Participatory budgeting 6. Mini-publics 7. Direct legislation 8. Civic technology, E-governance and E-democracy 9. Nudging and behaviour change 10. Citizen Science 11. Lessons for institutional design 12. Analysing participatory practices

Special Features

The students will author and contribute case-studies to the ongoing participedia.net database of participatory governance innovations

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

2 weekly Lectures 5 1-hour fortnightly workshops Materials for the assignments will be introduced and discussed in the lectures and seminar sessions. Seminars will be based around preparation and guidance for the course assessments.

TypeHours
Independent Study120
Teaching30
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Smith, Graham (2009). Democratic Innovations. 

Held, David (2007). Models of Democracy. 

Dahl, Robert (1998). On Democracy. 

Fung, Archon and Erik Olin Wright (eds) (2003). Deepening Democracy: Institutional Innovations in Empowering Participatory Governance. 

Gutmann and Thompson (1996). Democracy and Disagreement. 

Saward, Michael (ed.) (2000). Democratic Innovation: Deliberation, Representation and Association. 

Fishkin, James (1997). The Voice of the People. 

Budge, Ian (1996). The New Challenge of Direct Democracy. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Case study 40%
Essay  (2000 words) 60%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework portfolio 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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