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Photo: “Library“, by Stewart Butterfield licensed under CC BY 2.0. Hue modified from the original.

Ansell, Christopher, Eva Sørensen, and Jacob Torfing. “When Governance Theory Meets Democratic Theory: The Potential Contribution of Cocreation to Democratic Governance.” Perspectives on Public Management and Governance 4, no. 4 (2021): 346-362.


Building on recent public administration research on service coproduction and cocreation, this article draws out the democratic potential of new forms of collaborative governance between the democratic state and civil society. Within democratic theory, cocreation has many similarities with the concept of deliberative mini-publics, but it goes beyond a “talk-centric” view to emphasize the active role of civil society in creative problem-solving and public innovation. The article argues that combining insights and perspectives from both democratic theory and governance theory can provide stronger foundations for a participatory democracy that complements rather than replaces representative democracy. The article concludes with an exploration of some of the legitimation challenges that democratic cocreation might face in practice.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.