The program “The Future of Democracy” places its main focus on the prospects for comprehensive ecological democratization. The guiding rationale is that social transformations require a collective imaginary of a future worth striving for. It provides a resource for meaning that supports the inclination to generate volition. Such imaginaries also allow for the short and medium term acceptance of adverse conditions that are to be expected and also already noticeable with respect to the natural and socio-political effects of climate change. And they provide guidance for constructive propositions for institutional design that contemporary democracies require in order to re-integrate citizens and nature. To be effective, concrete propositions must carefully consider extant structures, just as corresponding imaginaries cannot merely be ‘invented’ but must draw from potentials that societies already harbor. Considering the scale of innovation required, this implies taking a broad view of what democracy comprises and, thus, what the resources for its future could be.
Conducive schemas for democracy’s overhaul may also germinate in practices distant from its institutional core – progressive social movements, the arts, and experimental practices can spur the democratic innovation. Taking a broad view also means considering which practices and structures still require democratization. Especially, the intertwinement of liberal democracy with the global economy calls for the reinvigoration of economic democracy. For instance, cooperative enterprises and the council republican tradition provide useful cues to further develop contemporary participatory democratic forms, such as lottocratic citizen councils. Such democratic innovations must also take humanity’s dependency relation on nature into account. The human species and the cultures that it has generated cannot be conceived as dichotomous to nature. Existing knowledge systems that feature non-hegemonic, alternative conceptions of the nature-human-culture trichotomy are of special interest here. They hold reconciliatory resources for aligning the political form with a responsible mode of co-habitation on this planet and achieving ecological, resilient democracy.