Deliberative Democracy and Local Governance: Towards a New Agenda


Over the last decade scholars of urban governance and deliberative democracy have produced large literatures. Theorists of deliberative democracy have conceptualized the normative implications of ‘deliberation’ and explored real‐world decision‐making arrangements that approximate those ideals. Scholars of urban governance have theorized and explored the outcomes of different institutional arrangements for the governance of cities and regions. Whereas empirical democratic theory has increasingly been interested in local contexts, researchers of urban governance have been progressively more concerned about the implications of emerging patterns of urban governance for democratic accountability. However, despite the recent mutual interest among researchers in both fields, debates within these literatures frequently ignore each other and are not systematic. This introductory article reviews recent contributions that have fruitfully investigated the tension between deliberation and governance in a more systematic fashion, and concludes that our understanding of those issues is significantly improved by a research agenda that pursues an integrated approach.