Argues that democratic theory and practice needs to shift its focus from elections and representation to sharing power and property in government and the economy
Theories and Cases in Participatory Democracy
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Participatory democracy calls for the creation and proliferation of practices and institutions that enable individuals and groups to better determine the conditions in which they act and relate to others. Michael Menser's timely book We Decide! is arguably the most comprehensive treatment of participatory democracy. He explains the three waves of participatory democracy theory to show that this movement is attentive to the mechanics of contemporary political practices. Menser also outlines "maximal democracy," his own view of participatory democracy that expands people's abilities to shape their own lives, reduce inequality, and promote solidarity.
"We Decide! is an important book on a subject most of us as a society do not know enough about, and do not really understand. Menser provides a thoughtful, comprehensive study that helps us better understand the theory and practice of Participatory Budgeting/Maximal Democracy, and its role in the social-public sphere of the solidarity economy. In exploring all sides of this process of popular co-management, Menser's conclusion is convincing and uplifting: that Participatory Budgeting privileges the needs of users, reducing both political and economic inequality; and enables us to retake the commons."
Michael Menser is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Urban Sustainability Studies at Brooklyn College and Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Environmental Psychology at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is co-founder of the Participatory Budgeting Project and co-editor of Technoscience and Cyberculture.
In the Series
Global ethics and international political theory are relatively new fields prompted by the growing interconnections of economies, technologies, societies, cultures, and legal systems that together comprise globalization. The Global Ethics and Politics Series, edited by Carol C. Gould, will feature original authored works and distinctive collections dealing with the contemporary ethical issues that are raised by globalization and by the new democratic forms of global governance that can contribute to the realization of justice and human rights. It will also consider new cross-cultural approaches to ethics and political norms and the conditions for intercultural understanding and conflict resolution in a globalizing world. Within these parameters, the series will include books on such themes as ethical issues regarding globalization; cross-cultural approaches to ethics and human rights; new perspectives on transnational democracy and the use of global governance institutions and international law to address questions of global justice and questions of war and peace.