Donnerstag, 1. Juni 2023

Innovating Democracy? The Means and Ends of Citizen Participation in Latin America

Book Launch by Thamy Pogrebinschi - Attendance Event

Since democratization, Latin America has experienced a surge in new institutional designs for citizen participation. Yet there is still little comparative knowledge on these so-called democratic innovations. Thamy Pogrebinschi’s new book fills this gap. Drawing on a new dataset with 3,744 cases from 18 countries between 1990 and 2020, it presents the first large-N cross-country study of democratic innovations to date. It also introduces the first comprehensive typology of institutions, processes, and mechanisms designed to enable citizens to participate in various stages of the policy cycle.

In her new book, Thamy Pogrebinschi introduces a pragmatic, problem-driven approach to democratic innovations, which challenges the conventional understanding that such innovations are primarily designed to increase citizen participation in decision-making. She argues that citizen participation is a means to achieve an end, namely the enhancement of democracy, and contends that there are four primary means of citizen participation (deliberation, citizen representation, digital engagement, and direct voting) which interact with different ends (accountability, responsiveness, rule of law, social equality, and political inclusion) according to the problem(s) they seek to address.

Among her findings, Pogrebinschi claims that while democratic innovation in Latin America since 1990 was mostly the work of state-driven, participatory institutions that relied on deliberation, the future of citizen participation belongs to digital mechanisms and processes initiated by civil society.

The book presentation and discussion will be followed by a reception in the beautiful WZB Wintergarten.

Discussants: Wolfgang Merkel (Director emeritus, WZB) and Sergio Costa (FU)

Moderated by: Swen Hutter (WZB)

More about the Book:


The venue is wheelchair accessible. Please let Friederike Theilen-Kosch (friederike.theilen-kosch [at] know if you need special assistance.

The data protection notice on photo and film recordings can be found here.