Citizens' Governance Spaces: Democratic Action Through Disruptive Collective Problem-Solving

Carolyn Hendriks, Albert Dzur

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This article investigates the practical form of citizen engagement that occurs in collective problem-solving efforts such as civic enterprises, grassroots initiatives and self-help groups. Drawing on extensive empirical evidence from diverse policy fields, it articulates the distinct experimental and disruptive policy work that citizens enact in these citizens' governance spaces and challenges dominant interpretations which view them as either (i) a testament to the capacity of citizens to effectively solve complex public problems or (ii) a symptom of advanced neoliberalism where states off-load complex problems onto citizens. The article moves beyond this dualism to consider the motivations, challenges, available resources and distinct democratic work enacted by citizens in these spaces of bottom-up governance. Citizens' governance spaces, the article concludes, offer important lessons - both in terms of potential benefits and risks - for the project of deepening the quality and reach of citizen participation in modern systems of democracy.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPolitical Studies
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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