Denmark, Copenhagen

Participartory and post-national Democracy - Democratic perspectives for the future

when 15 August 2016 - 19 August 2016
language English
duration 1 week
credits 7.5 ECTS
fee EUR 230

The democratic nation state as we know it is losing terrain. . The highly acclaimed configuration of the people and the nation-state, which for two centuries have provided democratic regimes with legitimacy, accountability, efficiency and problem-solving capabilities is challenged by new political problems, new emerging identities and new forms of political participation, deliberation and contestation. In this course we will engage with two of most promising innovations within democratic thought – participatory and post-national democracy – and the political problems, which they seek to address.

What happens to democracy, when people no longer feel represented by their national representatives? What happens to democracy, when political problems become globalized and non-state actors such as NGO’s and multinational companies possess huge influence and power? How can democratic theory respond to challenges of declining legitimacy, financial crises and new regional and global structures of decision-making?

The course will begin by providing the diagnosis, namely that national democracy is in deep crises, and that it no longer provides basic democratic legitimacy and efficiency. It then process to the various democratic uprisings and innovative experimentations with participatory democracy, which followed the financial crisis of 2008. We will engage with new forms of democratic participation in the local neighborhood assemblies in Greece and Spain (especially the Indignados), the direct democratic decision-making of the Occupy Movement and the communal councils and participatory budgeting of various countries in Latin America. In all these cases, we will ask which democratic promises and potentialities these attempts at local self-government provide.

The section half of the course will engage with questions of post-national democracy in the of era post-national democracy, especially in relation to the EU. We will discuss questions of what representation, accountability and deliberation means in a post-national public sphere, and how post-national democracy within the EU can provide answers to both the democratic apathy of the national democracy, but also enhance the political efficiency in relation to transnational political problems.

The course will end with a synthesis of the two democratic perspectives (participatory and post-national, local and regional), and a discussion of future democratic federalism below, besides and beyond the nation-state.

Course leader

Benjamin Ask Popp-Madsen

Target group

For master students with relevant BA (e.g. political science, sociology, philosophy, European studies, history). It is not a prerequisite that the students have previously worked with political theory, however interest in normative political theory is of course beneficial.

Course aim

The course strengthens the student’s knowledge of democratic theory, as well as their overall ability to understand and assess normative theory.

Fee info

EUR 230: EU/EAA citizens
EUR 1275: Non EU/EAA citizens