This volume presents the first systematic comparative analysis of national traditions of local democracy across the developed world, as well as their origins and evolution. It reveals how inclusive local institutions that integrate national and local governance make democracy work better. Across most of the developed world, early forms of the national state entrenched the local power of elites. In Anglo-American and Swiss democracies, state formation imposed enduring tensions with local civic governance. In contrast, inclusive, integrative local institutions in Northern Europe enabled close links with central government around common local and national agendas, producing better governance and fuller democracy to the present day.
Through comparative analysis, the authors demonstrate how institutions for local governance and the participation of civil society differ widely among developed democracies, and how local democracy relates to national democracy. The resulting insights fundamentally recast our understanding of how to build and maintain more effective democracies.
Jefferey M. Sellers (USA) is an Associate Professor of Political Science, Public Policy and Spatial Sciences at the University of Southern California. He wrote Governing From Below, published by Cambridge University Press, and has received numerous grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation and other sources.
Anders Lidström (Sweden) is a Professor of Political Science at Umeå University. He serves on the Group of Independent Experts on the European Charter of Local Self-Government, Council of Europe.
Yooil Bae (Vietnam) is a Lecturer and Founding Faculty of Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management at Fulbright University Vietnam. He is a member of the Civil Society in Asia research group and the author of Mega-Events and Mega-Ambitions published by Palgrave Macmillan.