Warne, Harry

Start date:
October 2021
Research Topic:
Democratic innovations, sub-states, and the future of democracy
Research Supervisor:
Milja Kurki, Elin Royles
Supervising school:
Primary funding source:
ESRC studentship

Recent years have seen a growing interest in democratic innovations. This label covers a wide range of practices, methods, and approaches, from popular assemblies and community campaigns to citizens juries and e-democracy platforms. There is a growing literature in this area concerned with theorising and facilitating practical implementations of this loose family of practices.

My project will look at democratic innovations in sub-states – political formations sat below the state, such as devolved regions or city administrations. Previous work looking at democracy “beyond the state” has focused primarily on transnational institutions. This project will explore the question of democracy “beyond the state” by focusing on democratic innovations in sub-states. Questions I will explore include:

  • What types of democratic innovation are evident amongst sub-state governance arrangements and large cities? What are their relative strengths and weaknesses?
  • Are these innovations constrained by existing state and international settings?
  • What are the broader implications of these innovations, including for future modes of democratic governance?

I will do this by undertaking a comparative case study based approach, informed by interviews and observations, comparing the role of democratic innovations in Wales, Catalonia, and California.

This project is in collaboration the Senedd Cymru and hopes to open up new theoretical and policy avenues in thinking and practising democracy.