The field of deliberative and participatory democracy has developed strong ideals of inclusion and equality. Yet these ideals have mostly been developed from a Western-centric angle. What does democracy beyond the West look like? What can be learned from democratic practices around the world? This special series on the Agora blog brings together diverse voices from across the globe.

The Democracy Beyond the West: Agora Special Series, is published by the Participatory and Deliberative Democracy Group.

This Medium post will be updated below as new articles are released. Stay tuned!

September 20, 2021 | “Maroon Democracy” and Le Morne Brabant

By Jean-Paul Gagnon

September 15, 2021 | “Away with Bolsonaro!” How Feminist Movements Confront Bolsonarism

By Gabriela Maria Farias Falcão de Almeida

September 8, 2021 | A return to autocratization? COVID-19 lockdowns and the shrinking space for citizen action in Zimbabwe


As a crowdsourcing website for participatory democratic innovations, Participedia.net has some great bells and whistles that allow anyone to collaboratively publish and edit relevant entries. In addition to providing a pleasant and inspiring reading experience about how people throughout the world are responding to problems of democracy, Participedia’s entries also supply a nuanced dataset that can be accessed by anyone — including researchers and policy analysts who seek to improve democratic participation in a variety of settings

Here we offer two short tutorial videos that provide simple instructions for accomplishing key tasks on participedia.net:

1. Publishing & Editing Content

2. Searching for & Downloading Data

Looking for more information about how to get involved on Participedia.net?

Our Quick User Guide


Participedia, a global resource for participatory democracy now based at McMaster University, has received a $2.5 million grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) to expand its reach and impact.

Participedia was co-founded in 2009 by Archon Fung at Harvard University and Mark Warren at the University of British Columbia. The project is an international network of researchers, educators, practitioners, and policymakers who use an open-access crowdsourcing platform, similar to Wikipedia, to share research and information about democratic initiatives around the world.

Participedia is now led by Bonny Ibhawoh, Centre for Human Rights and Restorative Justice, McMaster University

Now housed within McMaster’s Centre for Human Rights and Restorative Justice and led by principal…


This profile of Participedia was originally prepared for OpenDemocracy.ca, an organization and network that shares community organizing knowledge, profiling ideas and actions. OpenDemocracy.ca convenes online and in-person across political orientations and borders to contribute to the growth of Canada’s democracy sector.

Participedia Partners Conference, 2019

Tell us about Participedia. How would you describe its purpose and what makes it unique?

Participedia’s mission is to strengthen and mobilize knowledge about new and innovative ways of doing democracy throughout the world. We aim to deepen and expand democracy in an era in which the traditional institutions of representative democracy are under threat, or seem insufficient to peoples’ democratic expectations and to many of the collective problems we face. …


By Antonin Lacelle-Webster

The COVID-19 pandemic has reconfigured our social and political environment and disrupted how we engage with one another. It has increased political uncertainty, placed a premium on trust in government, exposed gaps in governing capacities, and in many places challenged democratic governance. Above all, it has exposed and exacerbated the vulnerabilities of many groups and communities. As we think about how to respond to the pandemic and its impacts, we need to capture citizens’ life-experiences in order to better understand the values and principles that should guide the recovery. …


By Julien Landry and Ann Marie Smith, with Patience Agwenjang, Patricia Blankson Akakpo, Jagat Basnet, Bhumiraj Chapagain, Aklilu Gebremichael, Barbara Maigari, Peggy Saka

In early 2020, COVID-19 swept across the globe, prompting widespread government responses with far-reaching implications for civic space and actors working to strengthen transparency, accountability, participation and inclusion in governance at all levels. …


By the Participedia Team

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, face-to-face contact is no longer safe. Communities everywhere are scrambling to combat the mounting crisis of overloaded healthcare systems, while also undertaking new practices of social distancing (and isolation) in attempts to “flatten the curve” that traces the virus’s spread. What impact is this new reality having on public participation, especially within the context of democratic systems?

Contribute to the Covid-19 Response Collection on Participedia.net

Citizens, governments, NGOs, businesses, and others are using participatory practices to respond to the enormous challenges this pandemic is creating. Mass Singing, Virtual Hackathons and Community Support Groups are just a few many examples. It…


By Professor Laurence Piper with Research Assistants Robyn Pasensie and Sondre Bailey, University of the Western Cape, Participedia Team

A team of Participedia researchers from the University of the Western Cape partnered with the advocacy organization Black Sash to investigate impacts on elderly and disabled citizens caused by changes to the way the South African Social Security Agency distributes social grants. Documented as a series of case studies on Participedia.net, this arts-based participatory research provides insights and evidence now used to advocate for systemic improvements for those who need it most.

Researchers and participants in the rural community of Genadendal, South Africa. Body Mapping was used as a method for sharing stories visually.

Every month, 89 year old Nanna pays R70 South…


By Jesi Carson, Lead Designer & Communities Coordinator, Participedia

We’re facing some of the biggest challenges in human history — social, environmental, you name it — and our democratic institutions just aren’t cutting it any more. It’s no wonder many of us feel that democracy is in crisis. Participedia offers inspiration in the form of real-world examples of people stepping up, speaking out, and working together. From the top-down to the bottom-up, on Participedia.net you’ll find countless stories of people coming together to make the world a better place.

As a designer, I use participatory methods in my profession all…


Gabriela de la Torre Rios & Angela Pajuelo Villón,
Institute of Development Studies

Power to the People السلطة للشعب (Hossam el-Hamalawy/Flickr)

Around the world, practitioners and scholars are claiming that democracy is “in crisis”. The closing of civic spaces and the rise of populist practices that question established democracies increasingly feel like challenges to our ideals of development.

These changes are something we’ve discussed throughout our last year as students in the MA Governance, Development and Public Policy, exploring their different expressions in many places.

Across Latin America, which is where we are from, there are many threats that are undermining democracy: higher rates of inequality, violence and…

Participedia

A global community sharing knowledge and stories about public participation and democratic innovations — Join us at Participedia.net!

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