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Two - The Diversity of Mini-Publics: A Systematic Overview

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

The burgeoning literature on DMPs has studied and debated the merits of this form of democratic innovation. It is striking that this field of research contains no unanimously accepted definition of DMPs. As explained in Chapter One of this book, our goal is not to determine which definition is the most appropriate. Rather, we work with a definition of DMPs based upon two basic constitutive elements: (1) it should be a mini-public, meaning participants are selected through a process that generates a representative sample of the public; and (2) it should be a deliberative process, meaning that participating citizens reach their conclusions or recommendations after receiving information and engaging in a careful and open discussion about the issue or issues before them. We build from this to examine the diversity of real-life examples of DMPs that have taken place over the last two decades.

Real-world DMPs are indeed diverse, ranging from planning cells to citizens’ assemblies, consensus conferences and deliberative polls. This chapter derives from the empirical diversity of DMPs a general description of their organization and core design features, and the ways in which they have been implemented across countries. In particular, we will build upon the inventory of DMPs instituted by national and regional public authorities across Europe produced within the POLITICIZE project. This data set, which has been gathered by one of the authors of this book, has identified and described over 120 different cases since 2000. We have chosen this data set because it provides a comprehensive inventory of mini-publics. We recognize that this data set only covers European cases and that there are other data sets with broader coverage, such as the one compiled by the OECD or the Doing Mini-publics project. Nonetheless, we find this data set valuable, for it provides detailed information regarding how the mini-publics were composed and organized, as well as on the topics deliberated and on the outcomes. To enrich our analysis, we also bring in insights from other DMPs that have occurred outside Europe or before 2000 that are not covered by this inventory.

Capitalizing on this original data set, the chapter describes the core features of DMPs along three dimensions: their composition; their format and topic of deliberation; and their outputs.

Type
Chapter
Information
Deliberative Mini-Publics
Core Design Features
, pp. 17 - 33
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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