How Democracy Works - in Practice

Ref: C2342498

There has been much debate recently about the 'failure' or the 'crisis' of democracy. How true those claims are depends on what type of democratic decision-making is involved - from voting to consensus building. This course gives examples of different types of democratic participation including citizens' assemblies and other forms of 'deliberative' democracy and gives students the opportunity to practice some of these (in miniature). It will use examples from political research and is not intended as a political platform. Students will have the opportunity to shape the content of the course.

Course aim

to provide an opportunity to examine, practice and evaluate examples of different forms of democracy, from elections to citizens' assemblies

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • describe at least one example of democratic participation
  • summarize the features of at least one non-voting form of democratic participation for example a citizens' assembly
  • summarize the process and the outcome of at least one practical exercise in deliberation
  • say what in at least one practical exercise in deliberation was valuable, and not so valuable, for your understanding of democracy
  • give a view - with reasons - about the ways in which deliberative forms of democratic participation could make current democracies more (or less) resilient

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Students will be encouraged to access online stydu resources

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • overview of democratic innovations :

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here
  • 1. overview of democratic innovations : [Hertie School of Gov] 2. [G Smith]

Download full course information sheet

How Democracy Works - in Practice

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This course has been cancelled.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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