Demokratiförnyelse på lokal nivå : En studie av kommunala demokratiinnovationer
Sammanfattning: The main purpose of this study is to investigate to what extent municipalities in Sweden use democratic innovations to include citizens in the decision making process. Along there are three research questions: • What different forms of democracy innovations are Swedish municipalities applying in order to increase the civic participation between elections and what forms are dominant? • What potential influence in decision-making are citizens getting through these democratic innovations based on the results? • Based on the results – in what ways is the democracy innovations used in municipalities challenging representative democracy? The method used to fulfill the purpose and answer the research questions is a web survey including 287 of 290 (in total) municipal websites. The theoretic framework includes a model which is called “Smith’s ladder of participation” and is influenced by the research of Graham Smith and Sherry Arnstein. The ladder illustrates four categories of democratic innovations together with the potential influence by citizens in the decision making process. This model later serves as guideline in conducting the web survey and is used to present and in analyzing the result along with democratic theories. The results in this study show that the innovations used by municipalities to include citizens in the decision making process is concentrated to the lowest level in the participation ladder and the consultative innovations is by far the most common forms of participation in which citizens can influence the decision-making between elections. This means that citizens mainly acts as respondents in the decision making process in general and according to the results in this study it seems to be rather few municipalities who offer their residents opportunities in terms of decision making. The lack of innovations found in the highest level in the participation ladder suggests that representative democratic isn´t challenged in a way where elected representatives delegates power in decision making to citizens.
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