Review essay on Archon Fung and Erik Olin Wright, eds., Deepening Democracy: Institutional Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance (Verso, 2003).


Empowered Participatory Governance, or EPG, is a model of governance developed by Archon Fung and Erik Olin Wright that seeks to connect a set of normative commitments for strengthening democracy with a set of institutional design prescriptions intended to meet that objective. It is derived partly from democratic theory and partly from the study of real-world attempts to institutionalize transformative strategies for democratizing social and political decision making. This paper reviews Fung and Wright's recent volume, Deepening Democracy: Institutional Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance, and considers the relevance of the authors' and other contributors' insights for the future of a phenomenon called "electronic rulemaking." Electronic rulemaking is a species of government on-line deliberation, which I call "GOLD," that seeks to facilitate greater citizen involvement in the formal processes of elaborating administrative rules to implement federal law. Although the volume hardly mentions information and communications technologies at all, there readily appears an extraordinary fit between the capacities of new ICTs and the needs of EPG, in terms of both accomplishing a supportive context and actually implementing the recommended institutional designs. Whether electronic rulemaking will prove a significant way station towards EPG is uncertain, but, given the promise of the EPG experimental agenda and the need to enlarge opportunities for meaningful citizen participation in decisions that affect their lives, EPG proponents should give more active consideration to the potential role of GOLD initiatives in achieving EPG aims.


Administrative Law | Internet Law | Law | Law and Politics | Law and Society | Public Law and Legal Theory | Science and Technology Law

Date of this Version

May 2005