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Four - The Deliberative Experience

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 April 2023

Nicole Curato
Affiliation:
University of Canberra
David Farrell
Affiliation:
University College Dublin
Brigitte Geissel
Affiliation:
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt Am Main
Kimmo Grönlund
Affiliation:
Åbo Akademi University, Finland
Patricia Mockler
Affiliation:
Queen's University, Ontario
Jean-Benoit Pilet
Affiliation:
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Alan Renwick
Affiliation:
University College London
Jonathan Rose
Affiliation:
Queen's University, Ontario
Maija Setälä
Affiliation:
University of Turku, Finland
Jane Suiter
Affiliation:
Dublin City University
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Summary

Introduction

Taking part in a DMP is a unique experience. Even though these processes are gaining increasing popularity, only a handful of citizens will have the privilege of being selected to participate in a DMP. Being in a mini-public is comparable to being selected to a jury – a unique experience designed to reach a considered judgement among a diverse group of people.

The uniqueness of the deliberative experience rests on the forum's design. Well-designed mini-publics can facilitate respectful conversations, an informed exchange of ideas, active listening and reflection. All these are crucial for citizens who may have conflicting values and preferences to come together, work out complex issues and generate outputs that can inform policymakers and the wider public debate. The academic literature on mini-publics has chronicled the positive effects of the deliberative experience on participants. Participants feel more politically attuned, interested and informed about politics (Grönlund et al, 2010; Fournier et al, 2011; Boulianne 2018). Others demonstrate shifts in preferences once they learn more about an issue (Himmelroos and Christensen, 2014). The impact of deliberation on social learning and generating a shared identity has also been documented (Hartz-Karp et al, 2010; Fournier et al, 2011).

Not all mini-publics, however, generate the same experience. DMPs can also reinforce inequalities that exist in the public sphere. Some mini-publics have been criticized for supporting an already-decided policy (Johnson, 2015). Others raise concerns about participants carrying their biases in deliberation, as in the case of women's arguments not getting the same amount of uptake compared to their male counterparts making the same argument (Beauvais, 2019). All these are concerns about the deliberative experience.

Type
Chapter
Information
Deliberative Mini-Publics
Core Design Features
, pp. 48 - 68
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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