Democracy and Public Space: The Physical Sites of Democratic by John R. Parkinson

By John R. Parkinson

In an internet, interconnected international, democracy is more and more made of wikis and blogs, pokes and tweets. voters became unintentional reporters because of their hand-held units, politicians are more and more operating on-line, and the conventional websites of democracy--assemblies, public galleries, and plazas--are changing into much less and not more appropriate with each new know-how. And but, Democracy and Public Space argues, such perspectives are top us to confuse the medium with the message, targeting digital transmission whilst frequently what cyber voters transmit is photos and narratives of genuine democratic motion in actual house. Democratic voters are embodied, take in house, conflict over entry to actual assets, and practice democracy on actual levels at the very least up to they interact with principles in digital area.

Combining conceptual research with interviews and statement in capital towns on each continent, John Parkinson argues that democracy calls for actual public area, that a few sorts of house are greater for doing some democratic roles than others, and that the most important sorts of area are less than assault in built democracies. He argues that unintended publics like consumers and lunchtime crowds are more and more valued over purposive, energetic publics, over voters with some degree to make or a controversy to hear. this is visible not only within the manner that conventional protest is regulated, yet within the ways in which traditional urban streets and parks are controlled, even within the layout of such quintessentially democratic areas as legislative assemblies. Democracy and Public Space bargains another imaginative and prescient for democratic public house, and evaluates eleven cities--from London to Tokyo--against that excellent.

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Sample text

The idea is that the strict democratic criteria should be applied most rigorously at those points of the system where (a) disagreement is most sharp and (b) where a binding collective decision is about to be made. This gets us away from insisting, unreasonably, on all the panoply of elections and accountability at points in the deliberative system where it does not matter so much. What are those points? Previously, I have discussed this in terms of standard, linear models of the policy process (Parkinson, 2006a: 166–9): problem definition and agenda-setting, deliberation over alternatives, the decision-making moment itself, and post-decision implementation – what Catt (1999) calls ‘define, discuss, decide, implement’.

1 ‘Resources’ on this account might include familiar things like time, money, and various physical goods, but it can also include information and information technology; welfare-related goods like health and happiness; or other abstract goods like ability, opportunity, autonomy, and liberty (Raz, 1986). e. one of the reasons why democracy is valued is because it is a set of decision-making procedures to make sure that what we want – ‘we all’ or ‘we most of us’ – goes); and  that subject to these and various subordinate procedural requirements being met, the decisions are binding on winners and losers alike, although people are free to attempt to review decisions, sometimes on a regular basis.

More subtle means include turning assembly buildings into museums and tourist attractions so that the work that goes on in them, or should go on in them, disappears from public view. I use these observations to make the first of several points on a recurrent theme in the book: that the buildings of the formal public sphere are increasingly and systematically excluding people as citizens, purposive publics, and privileging incidental or leisure publics. The major exception in all this is the Canadian Parliament, whose members have 17 Democracy and Public Space fought battles with security advisers about maintaining citizen access to Parliament Hill and Parliament Buildings themselves.

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