Making Space for Citizens. Broadening the 'new democratic spaces' for citizen participation.


The limits of democratisation strategies which focus only on the formal electoral arena are becoming increasingly clear. In both North and South, interest is now growing in approaches to 'deepening democracy' which seek to extend the range and scope of opportunities for citizen participation. This has led to a proliferation of 'new democratic spaces'. This IDS Policy Briefing takes a closer look at examples of these spaces in a number of very different countries. It argues that if they are to avoid becoming just another set of one-size-fits-all models, much more attention needs to be paid to key contextual factors as well as to institutional design. The Briefing concludes with some practical lessons on dealing with the key challenges which 'new democratic spaces' pose for policymakers and for citizen representatives.


IDS Policy Briefing Issue 27, Brighton, UK: IDS, 4 pp. Available in English and Portugese.

Published 1 January 2006