Participative and Deliberative Democracy on the Local Level: How the Political Characteristics of Municipalities in the Czech Republic Relate to the Use of Selected Democratic Innovation within their Territory?

  • Hana Hurtikova Palacký University in Olomouc, Faculty of Arts
  • Michal Soukop Palacký University in Olomouc, Faculty of Arts
Keywords: participative democracy, deliberative democracy, democratic innovations, Local Agenda 211, political characteristics of municipalities


Little current studies of democratic innovations have considered whether there is any connection between the political characteristics of a municipality and the higher degree of use of participative and deliberative tools within their territory. This article aims at contributing to the discussion by testing selected political indicators in the municipalities in relation to the utilisation rate of innovative tools. By using the case study of local territory within the Czech Republic during the election period of 2014–2018, the article uses unique data from the municipalities with extended powers to track common features of participative municipalities, e-municipalities, and transparent municipalities, and reveals the substantial positive effects of intergenerational renewal in the representative bodies and strong financial capital. Paper contributes to the discourse on democratic innovations by focusing on unexplored area, thanks to which participative and deliberative tools could become a normal part of the decision-making process on a local level.


Barber, B. (1984) Strong democracy: Participatory politics for a new age (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press).

Cini, L. (2011) Between Participation and Deliberation: Toward a New Standard for Assessing Democracy? A paper at 9th Pavia Graduate Conference in Political Philosophy, 4-6 July 2011, available at: (September 10, 2018).

Coenen, F. (2009) Local Agenda 21: ‘Meaningful and Effective’ Participation? In: Coenen, F. (ed.) Public Participation and Better Environmental Decisions (Berlin: Springer Science + Business Media B.V.), pp. 165-182.

CSO (2017a) Velikostní skupiny obcí podle krajů, okresů – počet obcí [Size groups of municipalities: by region, district - number of municipalities]. Český statistický úřad [Czech Statistical Office], available at: (September 19, 2018).

CSO (2017b) Správní obvod obce s rozšířenou působností [Administrative district of the municipality with extended competence]. Český statistický úřad [Czech Statistical Office], available at: (September 19, 2018).

CSO (2018) Databáze [Database]. Český statistický úřad [Czech Statistical Office], available at: (September 22, 2018).

CVVM (2014) Postoje občanů k fungování demokracie v ČR – únor 2014 [Citizens' attitudes towards the functioning of democracy in the Czech Republic - February 2014]. Centrum pro výzkum veřejného mínění Sociologický ústav AV ČR, v.v.i. [Center for Public Opinion Research Institute of Sociology, Academy of Science of the Czech Republic, v.v.i.], available at: (September 10, 2018).

Čmejrek, J., Bubeníček, V. & Čopík, J. (2010) Demokracie v lokálním politickém prostoru: Specifika politického života v obcích ČR [Democracy in the Local Political Space: Specifics of Political Life in the Municipalities of the Czech Republic] (Prague: Grada Publishing).

Dahl, R. (1998) On Democracy (New Haven: Yale University Press).

Dalton, R. J. (2004) Democratic Challenges, Democratic Choices: The Erosion of Political Support in Advanced Industrial Democracies (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Della Porta, D. (2013) Can democracy be saved? (Cambridge: Polity Press).

Donaghy, M. M. (2011) Do Participatory Governance Institutions Matter? Municipal Councils and Social Housing Programs in Brazil, Comparative Politics 44 (1), pp. 83-102.

Downs, A. (1957) An economic theory of democracy (New York: Harper & Row).

Fishkin, J. S. (2012) Deliberative polling. Reflections on an ideal made practical. In: Geissel, B. & Newton, K. (eds.) Evaluating Democratic Innovations Curing the democratic malaise? (London, New York: Routledge).

Font, J., Della Porta, D. & Sintomer, Y. (2014) Participatory Democracy in Southern Europe (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield International).

Fung, A. (2001) Accountable autonomy: Toward empowering deliberation in Chicago Schools and Policing, Politics and Society 29 (1), pp. 73–103.

Fung, A., & Wright, E. O. (2001) Deepening Democracy: Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance, Politics and Society 29 (1), pp. 5-41.

Geissel, B. (2009) How to improve the quality of democracy? Experiences with Participatory Innovations at the Local Level in German, German Politics and Society 27(4), pp. 51-71.

Geissel, B. & Newton. K. (2012) Evaluating Democratic Innovations (London: Routledge).

Gould, C. C. (1988) Rethinking democracy: Freedom and social cooperation in politics, economy and society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

Kašpar, J., & Petrová, M. (2018) Místní Agenda 21 - informace, postupy, kritéria [Local Agenda 21 - Information, Procedures, Criteria], available at:$pid/CENMSFK2CK1O/.../MA21-%20IPK_def.pdf (September 19, 2018).

Lang, A. (2007) But is it for real: The British Columbia Citizens’ Assembly as a model of state-sponsored citizen empowerment, Politics and Society 35 (1), pp. 35–69.

Michels, A. (2011) Innovations in Democratic Governance: How Does Citizen Participation Contribute to a Better Democracy?, International Review of Administrative Sciences, 77(2), pp. 275–293.

Miessen, M. (2011) The Nightmare of Participation (Berlin: Sternberg Press).

Mill, J. S. (2006) On Liberty (London: Routledge).

Miller, D. (1992) Deliberative Democracy and Social Choice, Political Studies (40), pp. 54-67.

Healthy Cities of the Czech Republic (2018) Národní síť Zdravých měst [Healthy Cities of the Czech Republic], available at: (September 10, 2018).

Newman, J., Barnes, M., Sullivan, H. & Knops, A. (2004) Public Participation and Collaborative Governance, Journal of Social Policy (33), pp. 203–223.

Newton, K. (2012a) Curing the democratic malaise with democratic innovations. In: Geissel, B., & Newton, K. (eds.) Evaluating Democratic Innovations Curing the democratic malaise? (London, New York: Routledge).

Newton, K. (2012b) Making better citizens? In: Geissel, B. & Newton, K. (eds.) Evaluating Democratic Innovations Curing the democratic malaise? (London, New York: Routledge).

Pateman, C. (1970) Participation and democratic theory (Cambridge England: Cambridge University Press).

Pateman, C. (2012) Participatory Democracy Revisited, Perspectives on Politics 10 (1), pp. 7-19.

Piper, L. (2014) How Participatory Institutions Deepen Democracy through Broadening Representation The Case of Participatory Budgeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Theoria, 61 (2), pp. 50-67.

Schumpeter, J. (1976) Capitalism, socialism and democracy (London: Allen & Unwin).

Smith, G. (2009) Democratic innovations: Designing institutions for citizen participation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

Teorell, J. (2006) Political participation and three theories of democracy: A research inventory and agenda, European Journal of Political Research, 45, pp. 787–810.

Teorell, J., Torcal, M., & Montero, J. R. (2007) Political Participation: Mapping the Terrain, In: Van Deth, J. W., Montero, J. R. & Westholm A. (eds.) Citizenship and Involvement In European Democracies. A Comparative Analysis (London, New York: Routledge).

Tocqueville, A. (2006) Democracy in America (New York: Harper Perennial).

Popkin, S. L. (1994). The Reasoning Voter: Communication and Persuasion in Presidential Campaigns (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

United Nations (1992) Agenda 21, United Nations Conference on Environment & Development Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992, available at: (September 10, 2018).

Verba, S., Norman, N. & Jae-on, K. (1978) Participation and Political Equality: A Seven-Nation Comparison (New York: Cambridge University Press).

Vráblíková, K. (2008) Politická participace – koncepty a teorie [Political Participation - Concepts and Theories], Politologický časopis, 4, pp. 366-387.

Vráblíková, K. (2009) Politická participace a její determinanty v postkomunistických zemích [Political participation and its determinants in post-communist countries]. Sociologický časopis, 45(5), pp. 867-897.