Spring 2017 Doing Democracy Differently

In our spring debate series, SID-NL and NIMD look at global and inspiring forms of new political engagement, with a link to the political developments in the Netherlands such as the elections campaign and the aftermath of the Dutch elections. A new trend has surfaced in recent years: the general tendency to question democratic values. The Dutch Ukraine Referendum, the Brexit referendum in the UK, the US elections, as well as the Italian referendum confirm that citizens have lost faith in their political leaders. They want to have more direct influence or they turn their back towards the formal political institutions and focus on extra-parliamentary activities. The guiding questions for this series is therefore ‘Can we do democracy in a different way?’ Can we think of a ways in which political parties and politicians change in such a way so that citizens can rely on them again? And if these new ways of doing democracy are already happening, how are they working?

13 June | Doing Democracy Differently: Opportunities of Social Media

This session discussed the increasing important role of social media in politics and how this affects outcomes of elections and political processes. Social media have become essential in today’s protests. But is Twitter and Facebook not making activists very vulnerable to repression? And why are hackers so easily taking advantage of digital election processes? This session will explore the opportunities and risks of the use of social media in doing democracy differently. With Nishant Shah (Leuphana University Lüneburg) and Caroline Nevejan (TU Delft).



16 May | Doing Democracy Differently: Opportunities for Youth Activism

Young people are at the heart of lots of civic activism worldwide today. Given the enormous challenges of closing civic spaces, are youth offering new ways of political engagement? Are they addressing new themes and priorities? And do they do so in different ways?  Maybe making more links to music and cultural events? And are we seeing new youth movements emerging, for example in schools and universities? Is youth civic engagement in poor countries different from what we can see in European countries?

We explored these questions with Sara Murawski (SP-Netherlands), Salwa Abdel Wahed (ISS), and Molefi Ndlovu (ISS).

18 April: Doing Democracy Differently: Participatory Budgeting

The debate in April focussed on the concept of participatory budgeting. We discussed the  initaitives that pop up at local levels around the world that aim to change politics by organizing communities differently. Typical examples are participatory budgeting initiatives from Latin American cities: how have these experiences spread over the world? And are these viable alternatives for doing democracy? Daniel Chavez (TNI), Joop Hofman (de Rode Wouw) and Micheala Hordijk (UvA) shared  their experiences from Lima, Porto Alegre, Montevideo, and Deventer on how citizens’ can directly participate in defining their community budgets.



21 March: Doing Democracy Differently: Doing Democracy Without Political Parties? 

The question “Can we have democracy without political parties?”was the focus of the debate in March. This is partly responding to the emergence of populism everywhere which seems to downplay the role of parties, and partly to explore new ways of “doing democracy” outside the realm of the (established) political parties. This debate explored whether or not  parties are the appropriate channels for democratic governance. Do we really need them? And if not, what are the alternatives?

We explored these questions with Loes Keysers (Jan & Alleman), Georgina Gomez (ISS) and Will Derks (NIMD). The Jan and Alleman Choir closed the night with a nice performance. Watch it here:

Doing Democracy Without Political Parties?

Part of the discussion series Spring 2017: Doing Democracy Without Political Parties? Together with NIMD and ISS, SID-NL organized a debate on 21st of March on the topic of political parties and democracy. This debate is part of a series on doing democracy differently.

Read the recap of the evening here