🦋 Democracy: by design and on the move

‘The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house’

We live in an era of hyper-mobility, marked by the mass movement of people virtually, trans-locally, and globally. More people are on the move than ever before in human history. Today, dispersed across the globe, there are between 272 million and one billion migrants. More than 15 million people worldwide live without nationality, and an even larger number of people live undocumented.

Democracy as an unfolding expression; an (un)science

In his inaugural essay, Gagnon examines the taxonomic work so typical of the natural sciences. Next, he posits that we cannot replicate this in the study of democracy. He then argues that, much as scientists do, we too ought to provide a narrative for democracies.

Democracy as design

Largely due to its pragmatist nature, Dewey’s work has linked design and democracy. At the core of Dewey’s democracy is the notion of securing the conditions for the self-realisation of all individuals in society. Likewise, Dewey saw democracy as a quality inherent in each individual that needs to be developed. He wrote that ‘each individual shall have the opportunity for release, expression, fulfilment, of his distinctive capacities, and that the outcome shall further the establishment of a fund of shared values. Like every true ideal, it signifies something to be done rather than something already given, something ready-made.’

Redefining democracy

We also need to commit to shift power in the process of future making. adrienne maree brown says it clearly, that ‘Imagination is one of the spoils of colonization, which in many ways is claiming who gets to imagine the future for a given geography.’ We must define and redesign democracy with the aim of co-liberation with full collective participation, especially by those most marginalised. Yet those who dare speculate preferred futures often do so without understanding and experience of marginalisation. Meanwhile, those who have developed the knowledge to understand our complex social systems are excluded, or reluctant to engage in envisaging the future, because they are oppressed by those very systems.

  • We use design to sustain, heal, and empower our communities, as well as to seek liberation from exploitative and oppressive systems.
  • We centre the voices of those directly impacted by the outcomes.

Democracy defined by those currently excluded

For individuals to be truly free, their society needs to grow and evolve with them. We must recognise the primacy of motion over fixity. The growing number of people unable to participate in democratic processes where they reside is eroding democratic institutions around the world.



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The Science of Democracy

The Science of Democracy

Republished essays, in chronological order, from The Loop’s short essay series on the “science of democracy”