HORIZON EUROPE FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME┋Intersectionality and equality in deliberative and participatory democratic spaces



Expected Outcome

Projects should contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Develop a thorough theoretical understanding of deliberative and participatory democratic practices through an intersectional lens that engages with structures of power, and identify limitations and opportunities for improvement of such spaces.
  • Enhance the design, implementation and evaluation of deliberative and participatory processes at different levels of government (local, regional, national, European), with a focus on marginalised and vulnerable communities, by including an intersectional approach that allows accounting for power relations at all processes of design.
  • Develop and pilot innovative designs for citizen engagement that consider intersectionality and allow for other types of participation and deliberation, and enhancing democracy, by addressing political inequality in such participatory spaces.


There has been a recent push to overcome the limits of representative democracy and reinvigorate democratic participation through participatory and deliberative democratic innovations at local, regional, national and European level. Such processes have aimed to bring power and decision-making closer to citizens, and have contributed to reimagining the meaning of democracy and to further fostering the involvement of citizens in democratic life.

Nevertheless, difficulties remain as regards the meaningful involvement of minorities and marginalised communities. Despite the implementation of quotas and processes to ensure parity in such democratic spaces, ensuring equality has been proved to be a challenge. In many cases, when the principle of parity has been achieved, there has been a difficulty to ensure meaningful engagement and safe and equal spaces for all. And while many efforts are focused on better including under-represented groups into such spaces, less actions are targeted at making majority populations and non-marginalised communities more understanding and tolerant towards so-called, perceived 'Others'. Proposals should contribute to reinvigorating democracy and enhancing citizen participation by designing, envisioning and piloting processes of democratic innovation where overcoming the accumulation and intersection of discrimination or stigmatisation is a core part of the process.

For this, proposals should offer both conceptual and practical insights into designing, implementing and evaluating more inclusive participatory processes. Thus, research should help to identify the limitations of participatory exercises, and draw power analysis that provide insights into the systemic exclusion and reproduction of inequalities in certain democratic spaces. This could also include behavioural insights to enhance participation of marginalised groups and the deconstruction of biases or unwelcoming practices by majority groups and privileged communities. Furthermore, they should contribute to innovation through the piloting and testing of alternative models of participatory democratic practices and mini publics that allow for meaningful engagement between marginalised or vulnerable communities and mainstream communities (counter/alternative publics, community deliberation, intercultural dialogues, multilevel deliberations, theatre and artistic interventions, etc.). This should take into account the challenges marginalised communities face in different geographic locations, such as rural and urban areas. Proposals may consider the role of digital technologies in such innovative designs.

Proposals may draw on the results of deliberative / participatory democracy related EU projects, in particular under Horizon 2020. Clustering and cooperation with other selected projects under this topic and other relevant projects are strongly encouraged.

Proposals are encouraged to collaborate with the JRC Competence Centre on Participatory and Deliberative Democracy,[1] particularly with respect to the design and evaluation of innovative and inclusive participatory processes, including concepts, frameworks and implementation thereof as part of alternative models of participatory democratic practices.


Application date
Humanities : Anthropology & Ethnology, History
Social sciences : Demography, Law, Geography, Management and Public administration, Gender studies, Identities, gender and sexuality, International Relations, Political science, Pedagogic & Education Research, Information and Communication Sciences, Sociology
Citizen Sciences