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    Democracy means the voice of the people. Democratic renewal means that the voice of the people is not static. Look at ostracism among the Ancient Greeks: could one imagine that it would not exist forever? Still the voice of the people, men and women, would sound different and clearer than it would if it were based on ostracism. Over the centuries change always appears to be the constant, also in democracy, for example in the democratic renewal we have been calling ‘citizen participation’. Bottom-up citizen participation originated in the 1980s, mostly in urban renewal, and was legitimized top-down in 1993 in the Dutch parliament through the Willems motion. During the past decade increasingly more instruments for citizen participation have been developed from the bottom up. This development aims for self-management, with instruments like neighbourhood rights and the right to challenge. It goes down in history under the name of ‘localism’. In this essay the author is looking for localism on the special Scottish island Gigha, which is part of the Argyll and Bute Council.


Thea Messemaker
T.E.M. Messemaker deed een kopstudie Bedrijfskunde en Innovatiemanagement aan de Universiteit Twente en is innovatiedeskundige bewonersparticipatie.

    Reflection and debate initiates academically inspired discussions on issues that are on the current policy agenda.


Dr. Joost Berkhout
Dr. Joost Berkhout is universitair docent politieke wetenschappen aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam.
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