After participation: Imagining democracy in the age of conflict

Narratives of democracy by Jo Harrington

There’s a new context for democracy.
It has very little to do with participation or digital democracy. Enter imagination.

In spring 2022, Democratic Society and Untitled called together a group of Untitled members working on renewing democracy to engage in a series of discussions: What is missing in the current debate on reforming democracy in an entirely new context?

This paper is a form of documentation of the Democracy & Imagination Agenda Group‘s discussions. The paper presents aspects to be addressed in a new context and suggests ideas to start with. It does not intend to provide a holistic overview of the ongoing debate. Rather, it encourages you, the reader, to imagine what’s possible beyond our preconceived notions of democracy and the mainstream focus of its renewal efforts.


Step back

Adding participation
is not the solution

Imagine new artefacts

Use conflict

Create liminal spaces

Immediacy is not intensity

Start with the physical

Combine local with central

Put your weight
behind what matters

UNTITLED is an alliance and an approach to collectively reimagine society, create an agenda for social transformation and experiment on executing it.

Untitled Agenda Groups critically examine current narratives of different realms of society and imagine new ones. Narratives are crucial to give direction to transformative initiatives. Agenda groups form alliances between organisations and people who work around the same topic in different sectors or contexts.

The groups provide thinkers and practitioners an opportunity for mutual learning and support. They are spaces to develop unfinished ideas and seek advice from peers. Different Untitled Alliance members initiate the groups around domains they wish to reimagine.

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