Democracy at the Local Level

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Language: English
Pages: 238
ISBN: 91-89098-73-0
Binding: Paperback
Editor and lead writer: Timothy D. Sisk Contributors: Julie Ballington, Scott A. Bollens, Pran Chopra, Julia Demichelis, Carlos E. Juárez, Arno Loessner, Michael Lund, Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Minxin Pei, John Stewart, Gerry Stoker, David Storey, Proserpina Domingo Tapales, John Thompson and Dominique Wooldridge.
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In today’s globalizing world, there is growing emphasis on local democracy. More than ever, cities need new ideas for ways of managing the political challenges and opportunities that arise from increased urbanization and globalization. Governing effectively at the local level is all the more urgent as vigorous local civic engagement builds the foundation for a strong and more enduring national-level democracy.

Organized in six chapters and written by experts from around the world, this International IDEA Handbook offers:

  • Practical suggestions for designing systems of local governance
  • Principles and policies for managing culturally diverse cities
  • Choices for enhancing local elections and representative democracy
  • Options for expanding citizen participation
  • Recommendations for the international community for enhancing local democracy


The Need for this Handbook

The Aims of this Handbook

Using the Handbook

Sources and References

Chapter 1 Concepts, Challenges, and Trends

1.1 Key Concepts in Local Democracy

1.1.1 Definitions of Local Democracy

1.1.2 Direct versus Representative Democracy

1.1.3 Adversarial versus Collaborative Democracy

1.2 Challenges for Local Governance

1.2.1 Service Delivery

1.2.2 Urbanization

1.2.3 Globalization

1.2.4 Diversity

1.3 Trends in Local Governance

1.3.1 Strategic Partnering

1.3.2 Decentralization and Co-operative Governance

1.3.3 New International Norms

1.4 Sustainable Urban Development

Essay: Local Governance and Democracy in the

Twenty-first Century, Gerry Stoker

Further Reading

Chapter 2 Designing Systems for Local Democracy

Three Case Studies

2.1 National Contexts

2.2 Basic Types and Forms

2.3 Criteria for Comparison

2.4 Decentralization

2.5 Money Talks: Fiscal Policy

2.6 Linkages Across Boundaries

Case Study: Local Governance, Decentralization, and Participation in

the Philippines, Proserpina Domingo Tapales

Essay: Partnerships for Governance: Models for Workable Fiscal

Decentralization, Arno Loessner

Case Study: San Diego, California, USA and Tijuana, Mexico: Co-operation

and Democracy on the US-Mexican Border, Carlos E. Juárez

Further Reading

Chapter 3 Diversity and Democracy

3.1 Ethnically-Charged Disputes

3.2 Democracy as Conflict Management

3.2.1 Aims and Options

3.2.2 Approaches to Conflict Handling

3.3 Public Policy

Case Study: Role of Public Policy: Belfast, Jerusalem, and

Johannesburg, Scott A. Bollens

Essay: Peace Commissions for Conflict Resolution and

Reconciliation, Michael Lund

Essay: International Migration and Cities, Demetrios G. Papademetriou

Case Study: Peace-Building in Bosnia’s Ethnically Divided Cities

The Case of Gornji Vakuf, Julia Demichelis

Further Reading

Chapter 4 Enhancing Electoral Democracy

4.1 Elections: Legitimacy, Accountability, and Trust

4.2 Local Elections: Key Issues

4.2.1 The Who, What, When, and How of Local Elections

4.2.2 Advantages of Local Elections

4.3 Local Elections in Democratizing Societies

4.4 Evaluating Local Elections

4.5 Electoral Systems

4.5.1 Choosing an Electoral System

4.5.2 Principal Options

4.5.3 Special Considerations for Local Democracy

4.6 Referendums and Ballot Initiatives

4.7 Political Organizations

4.7.1 Local Party Development

4.7.2 Democracy within Parties

Essay: Local Governance in India: Empowering Women and

Minorities, Pran Chopra

Case Study: Village Elections: China’s Experiment in Rural

Self-government, Minxin Pei

Further Reading

Chapter 5 Expanding Participatory Democracy

5.1 What is Collaborative Civic Engagement?

5.1.1 The Importance of Participation

5.2 Designing a Collaborative Process

5.2.1 Setting the Agenda

5.2.2 Selecting Participants

5.2.3 Role of Public Officials

5.3 Overview of Participatory Approaches

5.3.1 A Menu of Collaborative Policy-Making Methods

5.4 Potential Problems in Collaborative Decision-Making

5.5 Evaluating Civic Engagement

5.5.1 Common Methods of Evaluation

5.5.2 Performance Evaluation

5.6 The Importance of Communication

5.7 Virtual Local Governance

Essay: Community Planning: From Conflict to Consensus, John Thompson

Case Study: Promoting Women’s Participation in

Southern Africa, Julie Ballington

Case Study: Enhanced Participation in Local Government: Lessons from

South Africa, David Storey and Dominique Wooldridge

Further Reading

Chapter 6 Promoting Local Democracy in the Twenty-first Century

6.1 Overview of the Democracy-Promotion Network

6.1.1 Purposes

6.1.2 Tasks

6.2 New Emphases on Local Democracy

6.2.1 Methods

6.2.2 Lessons Learned

6.2.3 Outlook


Annex One: Glossary

Annex Two: Contributors


“With this Handbook, International IDEA, has made a lasting contribution to our endeavour to govern ourselves with dignity and with respect for our fellow citizens. ... I encourage all those who want to contribute to the empowerment of people to read this book. ”

Maximo MM Ng’andwe President, International Union of Local Authorities

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