Improving governance : practical methods and an analytic framework for the enhancement of democracy

Gagnon, Jean-Paul (2010) Improving governance : practical methods and an analytic framework for the enhancement of democracy. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Seven endemic governance problems are shown to be currently present in governments around the globe and at any level of government as well (for example municipal, federal). These problems have their roots traced back through more than two thousand years of political, specifically ‘democratic’, history. The evidence shows that accountability, transparency, corruption, representation, campaigning methods, constitutionalism and long-term goals were problematic for the ancient Athenians as well as modern international democratisation efforts encompassing every major global region. Why then, given the extended time period humans have had to deal with these problems, are they still present? At least part of the answer to this question is that philosophers, academics and NGOs as well as MNOs have only approached these endemic problems in a piecemeal manner with a skewed perspective on democracy. Their works have also been subject to the ebbs and flows of human history which essentially started and stopped periods of thinking. In order to approach the investigation of endemic problems in relation to democracy (as the overall quest of this thesis was to generate prescriptive results for the improvement of democratic government), it was necessary to delineate what exactly is being written about when using the term ‘democracy’. It is common knowledge that democracy has no one specific definition or practice, even though scholars and philosophers have been attempting to create a definition for generations. What is currently evident, is that scholars are not approaching democracy in an overly simplified manner (that is, it is government for the people, by the people) but, rather, are seeking the commonalities that democracies share, in other words, those items which are common to all things democratic. Following that specific line of investigation, the major practiced and theoretical versions of democracy were thematically analysed. After that, their themes were collapsed into larger categories, at which point the larger categories were comparatively analysed with the practiced and theoretical versions of democracy. Four democratic ‘particles’ (selecting officials, law, equality and communication) were seen to be present in all practiced and theoretical democratic styles. The democratic particles fused with a unique investigative perspective and in-depth political study created a solid conceptualisation of democracy. As such, it is argued that democracy is an ever-present element of any state government, ‘democratic’ or not, and the particles are the bodies which comprise the democratic element. Frequency- and proximity-based analyses showed that democratic particles are related to endemic problems in international democratisation discourse. The linkages between democratic particles and endemic problems were also evident during the thematic analysis as well historical review. This ultimately led to the viewpoint that if endemic problems are mitigated the act may improve democratic particles which might strengthen the element of democracy in the governing apparatus of any state. Such may actively minimise or wholly displace inefficient forms of government, leading to a government specifically tailored to the population it orders. Once the theoretical and empirical goals were attained, this thesis provided some prescriptive measures which government, civil society, academics, professionals and/or active citizens can use to mitigate endemic problems (in any country and at any level of government) so as to improve the human condition via better democratic government.

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ID Code: 39440
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Bean, Clive, Cooper, Thomas, & Kendall, Gavin
Keywords: democracy, government, politics
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 06 Jan 2011 05:08
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 20:01

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