1st Edition

Rethinking Democracy and Governance Perspectives from the Caribbean

Edited By Donavon Johnson Copyright 2024
    440 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    440 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Democracy can be understood as a concept as well as a system of government associated with certain values, including transparency, accountability, the protection of rights, and non-oppressive government. This cutting edge new book explores the current contours of democracy and asks important questions such as: Does contemporary democracy mean the same thing that it did centuries ago? Are the longstanding assumptions about democracy and good governance sustainable in the face of digital transformation, paradigm shifts, and the liberalization of knowledge? Is democracy still applicable in the way that it has been traditionally envisioned? Gathering together insights from academics and practitioners with expertise on democracy and governance in the Caribbean context, this book is designed to spark a conversation about the ways in which appetites for democracy may be shifting in the Caribbean and beyond, exploring the conditions that brings these shifts to bear.

    Section one focuses on conceptual pieces that investigate democracy and good governance, their definition, and comparative analysis of how the conceptualization of democracy can shape outcomes in different governmental contexts. Section two explores the ways in which events, trends, and technologies have impacted democratic or undemocratic values and attitudes. Section three examines shifts in democratic inclination in the 21st century.  Together the chapters represent an overdue study of the foundational governmental system of our time in a region that has historically been overlooked. Rethinking Democracy and Governance: Perspectives from the Caribbean is required reading for students of governance, public administration, and public policy. 

    1. Introduction: A Long walk to Democracy: How far we have come 
    2. Donavon Johnson 

    3. Reflections on Democracy: Concepts, Norms, and Problems 
    4. Jermaine Young 

    5. Democracies and their Fragility: Working only for the people who they were made for 
    6. Ariel T. Powell 

    7. Government and the "Trust" to Kill: Public trust, Extralegal Governance, and Patriotism 
    8. Donavon Johnson, Kemesha Swaby, Ren-Neasha Blake-Gilmore 

    9. Re-Imagining Liberal Democracies in the face of COVID-19 
    10. Tristan Graham, Ananda Squire 

    11. Claim-Making in The Digital Age: A Framework for Co-Optation in the Production and Conveyance of Political Claims in Social Media 
    12. Howard Reid 

    13. The digital identity revolution: Assessing the opportunities and challenges for Developing Countries 
    14. Damion Gordon 

    15. Digital Transformation and the Politics of Disruptive Technologies 
    16. Ashera Barron, Donavon Johnson 

    17. Democracy and the Politics of Indigenous-Settler Reconciliation in Australia and Canada 
    18. Stacey-Ann Wilson 

    19. Demystifying Environmental Democracy in a New Era of Governance: Whole of Community efforts among Citizens, Nonprofits, the Public and Private Sectors 
    20. Ren-Neasha Blake-Gilmore, Dainalyn Swaby, Leneka Rhoden 

    21. Promoting Democratic Governance among the Jamaican youth through Civic Education: The Experiences of the UWI-Mona Department of Government’s Governance Society 
    22. Lloyd Waller, Shinique Walters, Nicola Satchell, Stephen Johnson, Gavin Daley, Howard Reid 

    23. Civil Society Organizations in Democratic Societies: A Case Study looking at the Impact of the Jamaica Debates Commission on Jamaica’s 2020 General Elections 
    24. Gavin Daley 

    25. Healing the Defects of Democracy Using Deliverology in the Context of Citizen Security: The Case of Jamaica’s Citizen Security Plan 
    26. Dianne McIntosh, Georgiana Clarke, Latavia Mitchell-Morgan, Kevin White, Akeem Bender 

    27. Increasing Citizen e-Democratic Participation using digital technologies: The Case of Jamaica’s National Identification System (NIDS) 

    Aubrey Stewart 

    15. Healthy is Democracy: The Role of Healthcare and Social Equity Considerations in the Governance of People 

      Donavon Johnson, Saphire Longmore 

    16. Influence of Privately-Owned Print Media on Election Outcomes: The Case of Guyana’s 2020 General Elections 

      Neil Marks 

    17. Democracy, Inequality, Public Administration and Good Governance: An Uncertain Future 

    Allan Rosenbaum 


    Donavon Johnson 


    Donavon Johnson is a data scientist and a digital transformation expert whose research focuses on digital transformation, governance, and innovation in the realm of public administration, public policy, and development studies. Dr. Johnson’s research interests also include social equity, public management, democracy, and representation. He is a quantitative and qualitative methodologist.

    “The editor and chapter authors of this volume Rethinking Democracy need to be commended on a most timely publication, combining comprehensive analyses with thoughtful recommendations.

    In these early years of the third decade of the 21st century, citizen dissatisfaction with the performance of democracy is arguably at its highest level and public trust in democratic institutions at its lowest ebb since the 1990s.

    The most populous democracies— Brazil, the United States, India, the Philippines—remain challenged by right wing populism; more states are experiencing ‘democratic backsliding’ than democratic consolidation and, globally, the percentage of eligible citizens bothering to vote continues to decline.

    Underlying these developments are complex phenomena—social, demographic, economic, environmental, technological, psychological and institutional. To their immense credit, the authors of the 18 chapters in Rethinking Democracy examine these underlying factors in a comprehensive and insightful manner. Their objective is to utilize scholarly work for a public good: ‘to build a more inclusive , equitable, and sustainable world’. These largely Caribbean authors, socialized in a complex sub-region combining relatively stable democratic institutions with some of the highest homicide rates globally, are perhaps best placed to summon all stakeholders —citizens and policymakers—to ensure ‘that democracy remains strong, inclusive and responsive to the needs of all people’.

    This book is a must read for those interested in the current challenges and opportunities facing democratic governance—students, scholars, policymakers and citizens.”

    Trevor MunroeProfessor Emeritus, Commander of the Order of Distinction Jamaica, Oxford University

    “This book makes a bold statement in its intent to ‘rethink democracy.’ And why not? There is no better time than the present to provoke critique of ideas and practices that although, have been legitimized throughout history, are not devoid of problems in their adoption and application.  The ‘hollowing out’ of the state, technological trends and citizens’ demands, combined with the universal character of risks, have cast a shadow on what is deemed efficient, effective and appropriate in citizenry-state interaction.

    This book makes a valuable contribution to the citizen-state discourse as it revisits the theoretical underpinnings of democracy and through situational analysis illustrates that democracy is a study in etymological, empirical and normative complexities.

    I am excited by the promise of this series of conversations to advance new perspectives on democratic values in a different era.”

    Eris D. SchoburghProfessor of Public Policy and Management, Faculty of Social Sciences, The University of the West Indies, Mona; Vice President, International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM); Member of Editorial Board, Public Management Review (PMR)