Whether in the growing gap between the rulers and the ruled, the decline of electoral participation, the rise of populism or the loss of confidence in democratic institutions, signs of the dysfunction of representative democracy proliferate across the globe. In response, scholars and activists have put forward various proposals to address and solve the crisis of representative democracy, ranging from: spontaneous popular assemblies to citizens’ assemblies and citizens’ initiative referenda. These propositions vary in scope (transnational, state, regional, local), in the type of actors involved (social movements, academics, and, policymakers), in political content and in extent of power they give to “the people”.
This CRITIQUE Roundtable focuses on the specific propositions advanced by social movements at the municipal level and on their aim to build democratic institutions that would allow individuals to directly exercise public power and regain control over their lives. Such initiatives have sometimes been subsumed under the term municipalism or communalism. This forum will bring together different practices and understandings of municipalism or communalism by contemporary social movements in various local contexts.
- Hanifi Baris, University of Aberdeen
- Bertie Russel, Cardiff University
- Sixtine Van Outryve d’Ydewalle, UCLouvain
Moderator: Oliver Escobar, University of Edinburgh