The Importance of the Participatory Democracy and the Multilevel Governance in the Solution of the Problems of Representative Democracy

The Importance of the Participatory Democracy and the Multilevel Governance in the Solution of the Problems of Representative Democracy

Hakan Gökhan Gündoğdu (Marmara University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5547-6.ch009
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Ideas aiming at overcoming the crisis of legitimacy are available on the solution to the problem of representative democracy. Particularly, multi-level governance structures which were created by the impact of model of participatory democracy and localization and regionalization processes have a significant place among these. Moreover, finding solutions to the crisis of representative democracy, participatory democracy, and multi-level governance approach are discussed in this study. In this context, as well as stating the method of the study within a theoretical framework, deficiencies of participatory democracy and multi-level governance are also mentioned. Finally, it is also examined that a model of participatory democracy and of the multi-level governance may be a solution to the problem of representative democracy.
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The concept of welfare state, implemented especially in Europe following the end of the Second World War, has changed due to the impact of neoliberal reforms and globalization. During this process, significant changes have occurred in the government approach, and apart from the traditional hierarchical forms of organization, a basis has been provided for the establishment of a new political and institutional government style called governance (Palumbo, 2015). In this regard, 1990s witness the developments on the increase of participation of civil society and citizens in decision making processes. In line with these developments manifesting in the government approach, a change towards the governance mechanisms which are a mix of coordinative and competitive market model takes place instead of the understanding of an intrusive hierarchical state (Fürst, 2011: 156, Tekeli, 2012: 661). Along with governance, some new understandings have emerged in management. These new developments first become evident in the more participatory reorganization of the relationship between the state and civil society. Second, governance demands a shift from a rigorous and dominant understanding of management to a flexible, collaborative management approach. Finally, the governance process foresees a more inclusive, effective, efficient and democratic policy-making process than a unilateral government approach (Tekeli, 2012: 667-669; Sözen, 2014: 2; Palumbo, 2015).

With the emergence of multilevel governance, it has become a matter of transition from a traditional government approach to a democratic and accountable management approach. In this process, which is seen as a gradual transition from government to governance, a multi-layered network of relationships such as cooperation and coordination take place, which manifests itself in the field of economy as well as in the political arena. On the other hand, multilevel governance is not only a negotiated relationship between different institutions-actors, but also is the realization of the governance processes at these different levels on a vertical plane. A network of institutional relationships that takes place between supranational and regional levels can put forth an example of multilevel governance that by-pass national governance. However, multilevel governance features cooperative changes and the ability to take joint decisions between institutions and actors at different levels of the political system (Peters & Pierre, 2001: 131-133). In addition, governance in the policy-making process can allow networking, bargaining and interest partnership among the actors. But, in principle, there is no dominant actor in the governance process. Instead, governance provides an environment in which actors can coexist with synergy (Dulupçu, 2006: 245). In general, multilevel governance can be defined as the involvement of actors, such as the state, private sector and non-governmental organizations, in decision making processes. On the other hand, the participation in governance, which is brought about by multilevel governance, causes the questioning of the representation mechanisms of democracy. As a solution to the problems of participation and representation in the representative democracy, provision of a participatory ground has become a matter of debate. In addition, there are also ideas that aim to overcome the legitimacy crisis in the solution to the problem of representative democracy. Particularly, participatory democracy model and multilevel governance structures formed by localization and regionalization processes occupy an important place. Therefore, in the study, it is planned to discuss both the ways to overcome the crisis of representative democracy and the understanding of participatory democracy and multilevel governance. In this context, problems and criticisms against participatory democracy and multilevel governance will be emphasized. Finally, it is also discussed that a participatory democracy model and multilevel governance may be a solution to the problem of representative democracy.

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