AN EXPERIMENT IN PARTICIPATORY DEMOCRACY: A CASE STUDY

P. M. George

Abstract


Most academics on this continent are by now thoroughly familiar with the rather redundant term "participatory democracy." It has come to describe the process within which university faculties and administrations share decision-making powers - once their exclusive responsibilities - with students. But though the term is familiar, the process itself is not, since it is in most institutions a recent innovation or one contemplated for the future. This paper is a description of one university department's experience in introducing participatory democracy. The department in question is a sociology department within a large Canadian university. Most of the members were trained in the United States where experiments in this area have been going on for some time. Perhaps this fact, together with the youthfulness of the department itself (it has been in operation for less than six years, and the oldest individual among us sixteen faculty members is less than forty) encouraged a liberal attitude in the matter.

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