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Practices of Freedom
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Book description

The shift from government to governance has become a starting point for many studies of contemporary policy-making and democracy. Practices of Freedom takes a different approach, calling into question this dominant narrative and taking the variety, hybridity and dispersion of social and political practices as its focus of analysis. Bringing together leading scholars in democratic theory and critical policy studies, it draws upon new understandings of radical democracy, practice and interpretative analysis to emphasise the productive role of actors and political conflict in the formation and reproduction of contemporary forms of democratic governance. Integrating theoretical dialogues with detailed empirical studies, this book examines spaces for democratisation, institutional design, democratic criteria and learning, whilst mobilising the frameworks of agonistic and aversive democracy, informality and decentred legitimacy in cases from youth engagement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


‘This landmark collection brings together the very best theoretical work on local and global governance in relation to democratic participation on the one hand and carefully reconstructed case studies on the other. It is precisely the kind of theoretical and practical work needed to understand the complex modes of governance and practices of freedom in which we are entangled today.'

James Tully - University of Victoria, Canada

‘This book is an important contribution to our understanding of the new forms of democratic practice which are emerging in our societies. It offers rich conceptual discussion and examples of applications in urban and environmental situations. It is not just for academics, but also provides inspiration to the many who are struggling to create more appropriately democratic polities for our futures.'

Patsy Healey - School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University

‘This book offers a series of first rate essays on the controversial topic of governance. By questioning conventional assumptions, its authors provide a deeper assessment of the meaning of governance as decentered political practice. They examine the inevitability of conflict under conditions of radical pluralism and explore ways of dealing with it through more agonistic practices of discursive democracy. Both theorists of governance and its sceptics have much to learn from this critical analysis.'

Frank Fischer - Rutgers University, New Jersey

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