Efficient Participatory Democracy: Real Utopia Model

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 11:30 AM
Room: F205
Oral Presentation
Dmytro KHUTKYY , Kiev International Inst Sociology, Ukraine
In many societies of semiperiphery and periphery ordinary citizens face unsatisfactory conditions of work, low salaries, generated by exploitation processes in the capitalist world-system. No wonder, many people distrust authorities and rarely participate in civil actions. Thus, there is a huge gap between awareness of unbearable situation and passive approach. Yet, people should know that there is an alternative: an emancipatory social science, which calls on active participation for implementation of desired change. In the real utopias approach of E.O. Wright the considered alternatives should be desirable, viable, and achievable. And civil activists who plan changes actually need and lack knowledge about possible models of empowered democracy and techniques of implementation, which proved to be efficient in real utopia cases around the world. And this study is aimed to provide such knowledge. As far as democratic initiatives implemented by authorities have a profound influence on society as a whole, it is reasonable to give priority to civil activism in political realm through symbiotic transformations using the state. Therefore, the research question is the following: what would be a comprehensive real utopia model of desirable, viable, and achievable participatory democracy? Theorizing, case studies, and qualitative expert interviews provide grounds for an integral real utopia model of efficient participatory democracy, relevant for communities and even larger societies. So far, the perspective change in democratic governance should include local community initiatives, participatory budgeting, referenda, free and fair elections, citizen assemblies, electronic democracy, and efficient control of work of authorities. For implementation civil activists should be guided by their emancipatory values and objectives, take into account theoretical implications, consider experience of the existing real utopias, mechanisms of implementation, effects of contexts, collateral institutions, unintended consequences, positive and negative feedback processes, and intermediate reforms. The findings are applicable to semiperipheral, peripheral, and even core societies.