Contemporary governance systems have been characterised as 'multi-actor' and 'multi-level', but the consequences of such greater complexity for core principles of democracy remain uncertain. To investigate the effects of these late-modern governance shifts, we used political decision making on Scottish reintroductions of charismatic animals as a case study. Based on interviews with key actors engaged in the reintroduction of the white-tailed eagle, beaver and (potentially) lynx, we analysed the impact of governance shifts against four selected democratic principles. We found that new modes of governance can make decision-making processes look better than they actually are, and may even harm democratic principles.
The authors are very grateful to the interviewees for their co-operation and input. We thank Bill Slee and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper, and acknowledge funding by the University of Aberdeen, the Macaulay Development Trust and the Scottish Rural and Environment Research and Analysis Directorate Programme 3.
- charismatic animals
- decision making