Democracy Now: Are New Understandings of Radical Democracy Transforming Its Practice?

Friday, July 18, 2014: 8:30 AM-10:20 AM
Room: 418
RC48 Social Movements, Collective Actions and Social Change (host committee)

Language: English

Fifteen years ago the conventional wisdom among scholars and many activists was that radically democratic decision making was a quixotic exercise in idealism, undertaken by committed (and often aging) idealists unconcerned with political effectiveness or economic efficiency. Today, bottom-up decision making seems all the rage. Crowdsourcing and open source, flat management in business, horizontalism in protest politics, collaborative governance in policy studies–these are the buzzwords now and they are all about the virtues of nonhierarchical and participatory decision making. What accounts for this new enthusiasm for radical democracy? Is it warranted? Are champions of the form understanding key terms like equality, consensus, and decision differently than did radical democrats in the 1960s and 70s? And is there any reason to believe that today’s radical democrats are better equipped than their forebears to avoid the old dangers of endless meetings and rule by friendship cliques? This panel brings together papers on how the people who practice radical democracy today understand what radical democracy means. Where do those understandings come from? And what are their consequences for groups` ability to act effectively and fairly?
Francesca POLLETTA, University of California, USA
Subjective Action As Utopia: Horizontality and Autonomy In Youth Politics In Latin America (Oral Presentation)
Anna-Britt COE, Umeĺ University, Sweden; Darcie VANDEGRIFT, Drake University, USA

Consensus Decision-Making in Meetings As an Interactive Accomplishment: Silence without Silencing? (Oral Presentation)
Christoph HAUG, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Crowdsourcing and Democratic Deepening: A Critical Appraisal (Oral Presentation)
Nicole CURATO, Australian National University, Australia