"Superdemocracy" - A Critical Assessment of the Participative Turn

Main funder

Funder's project number: 266565

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 588 085,00

Funding program

Project timetable

Project start date: 01/09/2013

Project end date: 31/12/2017


Since the 1990s there has been much talk about the “participatory turn”. Conceptions and theories of deliberative democracy as well as extra-parliamentary forms of participation have become popular. Deliberative democracy has become one of the dominant research paradigms in normative political philosophy. At the same time as the legitimacy and role of political institutions has been seriously shaken and redefined, “new democracy” has become a universal catchword, “a hegemonic referential”.

The overall aim of the project is to offer a critical evaluation of this discourse of participation in a context where arenas and institutions for participation have become redefined and resituated. The project sets out to study the new way of talking about participation, analyzing the characteristics of this talk, looking at where the talk emanates from and where it is talked, whether it is successfully or less successfully implemented and what kinds of conflicting interpretations it gets. The project builds on and combines 1) theoretical research of democracy and participation, 2) analysis of core concepts behind new democracy and participation talk 3) empirical studies on the spreading and distribution of democracy talk, and 4) investigation of experiences and prerequisites of political subjectivation.

The project aims at evaluating the phenomenon of “new democracy”, thereby contributing to democratic debate in Finland and internationally. As various kinds of participatory experiments currently engage large amounts of time, money and labor in public organizations all over, the project wishes to contribute to a critical evaluation and betterment of this activity, and to thinking about possible ways for a more functioning democracy.

Principal Investigator

Primary responsible unit

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Last updated on 2021-17-03 at 12:08