No Representation Without Consultation

Our democracies must be reinvented from the ground up

Democracy is in crisis. Right-wing populism and authoritarianism are on the rise around the world, fed by widespread disaffection and disillusionment with political and economic systems rigged in favour of elites. In the face of unprecedented challenges and crises, citizens find themselves excluded from the top-down decisions made by the three traditional branches of liberal-democratic government—the executive, legislative, and judicial.

To reinvigorate democracy we need a new kind of participatory politics. Patrizia Nanz and Claus Leggewie propose a fourth branch of government—a consultative branch comprising a network of “future councils”—that would draw on the wisdom of the many to address urgent issues like digitalization, migration, and the climate crisis.

No Representation Without Consultation is a short and accessible guide to a new kind of political engagement offers an important analysis of right-wing populism’s recent and historic allure, a robust analysis of the accomplishments of protest movements and citizens’ groups, and a concrete proposal for establishing the basis of a true participatory democracy. With a rare optimism, which values the wisdom of the masses over the narrow-mindedness of today’s authoritarians and technocrats, this guide is a modern call-to-arms for a more democratic, participatory, and sustainable future.

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Patrizia Nanz is a director of the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) and a professor of Transformative Sustainability Studies at the University of Potsdam. Claus Leggewie is a director of the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) in Essen and of the Centre for Global Cooperation Research in Duisberg, and is a member of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WGBU).

Damian Harrison is a translator and editor specializing in sustainable development at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Berlin, Germany. Stephen Roche is a translator and editor in Hamburg, Germany.
Copyright © 2019 Between the Lines, All rights reserved.

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