When Governance Theory Meets Democratic Theory: The Potential Contribution of Cocreation to Democratic Governance

Christopher Ansell*, Eva Sørensen, Jacob Torfing

*Corresponding author

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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.
TidsskriftPerspectives on Public Management and Governance
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)346-362
Antal sider17
StatusUdgivet - 1 dec. 2021


  • democracy
  • Governance
  • Co-creation

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