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Deliberation is widely believed to enhance democracy by helping to refine the ‘public will’, moving its participants' policy attitudes closer to their ‘full-consideration’ policy attitudes – those they would hypothetically hold with unlimited information, to which they gave unlimited reflection. Yet there have also been claims that the social dynamics involved generally ‘homogenize’ attitudes (decreasing their variance), ‘polarize’ them (moving their means toward the nearer extreme), or engender ‘domination’ (moving their overall means toward those of the attitudes held by the socially advantaged) – attitude changes that may often be away from the participants' full-consideration attitudes and may thus distort rather than refine the public will. This article uses 2,601 group-issue pairs in twenty-one Deliberative Polls to examine these claims. Reassuringly, the results show no routine or strong homogenization, polarization, or domination. What little pattern there is suggests some faint homogenization, but also some faint moderation (as opposed to polarization) and opposition (as opposed to domination) – all as is to be expected when the outside-world forces shaping pre-deliberation attitudes are slightly more centrifugal than centripetal. The authors lay out a theoretical basis for these expectations and interpretations and probe the study's results, highlighting, among other things, deliberation's role in undoing outside-world effects on pre-deliberation attitudes and the observed homogenization's, polarization's, and domination's dependence on deliberative design.
This chapter has four objectives: (1) to explain the main concepts and the normative stance of the book, (2) to develop the main theory of the book, (3) to overview the history of constitutions and constitutionalism in the Arab world in relation to the book’s theory, and (4) to provide a concise introduction to the Arab Spring constitutional bargains across the region.
How is the tension between conflict and deliberation resolved in shareholder engagement? We address this question by studying shareholder engagement as a deliberative process with three stages: establishing dialogue, solution development, and solution implementation. We theorize that two interactionist mechanisms, deliberative interaction and the voicing of disagreement, play different roles at different stages of the process. We test our hypotheses with a proprietary database of 169 environmental, social, and governance engagements with US public companies over 2007–12. We find that while deliberative interaction does not help advance the engagement process, it positively moderates the effect of disagreement in the solution development stage. By contrast, in the solution implementation stage, deliberative interaction amplifies the negative effect of disagreement, thus hindering progress in the engagement. Our article contributes to shareholder engagement, deliberation theory, and interactionist organization theory by establishing that engagement effectiveness is an interactional achievement shaped by both deliberation and disagreement.
In recent years, climate citizens’ assemblies – randomly selected representative citizens gathered to make policy recommendations on greenhouse gas emissions targets – have gained in popularity as a potential innovative solution to the failure of governments to design and adopt ambitious climate change laws and policies. This article appraises the process and outcomes of three climate citizens’ assemblies held at the national level – in Ireland, France and the United Kingdom – and evaluates their contributions to the making of climate law and policy. In doing so, it first looks at whether citizens’ assemblies have the ability to improve the substance of climate law and suggests that they face difficulties in providing an integrated, holistic response to the climate problem. It then explores how citizens’ assemblies have fed into subsequent legislative processes to show their positive influence and draws lessons for our understanding of the role of citizens’ assemblies in climate lawmaking.
Responsible innovation in artificial intelligence (AI) calls for public deliberation: well-informed “deep democratic” debate that involves actors from the public, private, and civil society sectors in joint efforts to critically address the goals and means of AI. Adopting such an approach constitutes a challenge, however, due to the opacity of AI and strong knowledge boundaries between experts and citizens. This undermines trust in AI and undercuts key conditions for deliberation. We approach this challenge as a problem of situating the knowledge of actors from the AI industry within a deliberative system. We develop a new framework of responsibilities for AI innovation as well as a deliberative governance approach for enacting these responsibilities. In elucidating this approach, we show how actors from the AI industry can most effectively engage with experts and nonexperts in different social venues to facilitate well-informed judgments on opaque AI systems and thus effectuate their democratic governance.
A predominant assumption in studies of deliberative democracy is that stakeholder engagements will lead to rational consensus and to a common discourse on corporate social and environmental responsibilities. Challenging this assumption, we show that conflict is ineradicable and important and that affects constitute the dynamics of change of the discourses of responsibilities. On the basis of an analysis of social media engagements in the context of the grand challenge of plastic pollution, we argue that civil society actors use mobilization strategies with their peers and inclusive-dissensus strategies with corporations to convert them to a new discourse. These strategies use moral affects to blame and shame corporations and solidarity affects to create feelings of identification with the group and to avoid disengagement and polarization. Our research contributes to the literature on deliberative democracy and stakeholder engagement in social media in the collective constructions of discourses on grand challenges.
Business firms play an increasingly influential role in contemporary societies, which has led many scholars to return to the question of the democratisation of corporate governance. However, the possibility of democratic deliberation within firms has received only marginal attention in the current debate. This article fills this gap in the literature by making a normative case for democratic deliberation at the workplace and empirically assessing the deliberative capacity of self-organised teams within business firms. It is based on sixteen in-depth interviews in six German firms which practice various forms of self-organised teamwork. The article argues that self-organised teamwork can create a space for authentic, inclusive, and consequential deliberation by suspending authoritarian control structures within business firms. Finally, the article proposes the consideration of firms not only as necessary parts of a larger deliberative system but also as deliberative systems in themselves.
Democracy is not only about voting. Deliberation plays an important role as well. Just like voting, deliberation can occur behind closed doors in the shadows or be subject to the glare of sunlight. In this chapter I argue that deliberation among representatives in a legislature ought to occur behind closed doors and away from the glare of sunlight, but only if it is structured properly. More specifically, I propose a new way of institutionalizing secret deliberation that secures its benefits while avoiding its costs. The key is to add external accountability mechanisms of a very specific kind to the deliberative process and to select participants in the secret deliberative body in a very particular way. If we do both things, then democratic deliberation is optimized when it occurs behind closed doors.
The process values of majoritarianism, pluralism, and collective rationality are described. The social choice understanding that it is impossible to respect all three of these values with a single collective decision mechanism is considered, as are epistemic and deliberative theories of democracy.
This article argues that the concept of deliberation is construed too narrowly in political corporate social responsibility (CSR) and that a concept of deliberation for political CSR should err toward useful speech acts rather than reciprocity and charity. It draws from the political philosophy, labor relations, and business ethics literatures to outline a framework for an extended notion of deliberative engagement. The characters of deliberative behavior and deliberative environment are held to generate four modes of engagement: strategic deliberation, unitarist deliberation, pluralist deliberation, and deliberative activism. The article concludes by arguing that political CSR will be better positioned to realize its potential by moving away from primarily consensus-centered objectives to a more responsive range of deliberative goals and practice.
This chapter explains the concept of reasonable multiculturalism. Building on the Rawlsian notion of reasonableness, and on Kymlicka’s formulation of multiculturalism, the mechanisms for reconciliation between liberalism and multiculturalism are outlined. What are the boundaries of multiculturalism within the framework of liberal democracy? What are the boundaries of state interference in the business of minority cultures whose norms and practices are at odd with liberal democracy? Reasonability assumes acceptance of the underpinning shared principles. Cultures that do not adhere to these principles are perceived as less reasonable. The extent of reasonability varies. But lacking reasonability does not immediately entail that the liberal majority should intervene in the business of the subcultures. Interference is warranted to restore justice. The chapter discusses the concept of mutual respect, distinguishing between two forms of cultural pluralism – ‘multination’ and ‘polyethnic’ states – and between two kinds of rights that a group might claim: the first involves the right of a group against its own members, the second involves the right of a group against the larger society. Furthermore, the nature of liberal tolerance and the mechanisms of deliberative democracy are explained, the latter instrumental for resolving disputes in a liberal democracy in a civil, non-violent way.
This chapter is concerned with the concepts of compromise and deliberative democracy. When compromise takes place between two or more parties, reciprocity must be present; that is, the concessions are mutual. It is argued that compromise and deliberative democracy are important in facilitating a healthy discourse between the majority and minorities about group rights and the extent of state interference in minority affairs. With proponents of discourse ethics, public reason and deliberative democracy, such as Jürgen Habermas, Joshua Cohen, Seyla Benhabib, John Dryzek, Amy Gutmann and Dennis F. Thompson, it is argued that this is a desirable approach to negotiating and resolving conflicts. The chapter agrees with Monique Deveaux that deliberative democracy is an invaluable resource for thinking about how liberal democracies and minority cultural groups might mediate conflicts of culture.
Global governance is transacted through the medium of language. This chapter scrutinizes the standing of agents of justice who rely on words: experts, public intellectuals, advocacy groups, and the media, all of which have played major roles in both the Sustainable Development Goals and climate governance. Democracy and expertise exist in tension. There are problem-solving benefits in the integration of lay and expert perspectives that deliberative democratization would enable. The partial perspectives that public intellectuals offer ought to be reconciled in deliberation involving a broad public whose situated knowledges may increase the quality of outcomes. Non-governmental organizations, advocacy groups, and activists have important roles, but when they implicitly claim to represent categories of people they become democratically problematic – potentially distorting the content of global justice. Advocacy groups (such as Oxfam) have special duties toward the poor they claim to represent, which should embed their representation in deliberative democracy. The role of old and new media alike has been troublesome on matters of global justice, for example in contributing to polarization and organized climate change denial. In the context of the expressive overload that now pervades social media, it is necessary to cultivate deliberative spaces of reflection.
Chapter 2 develops the theoretical framework of the book and the conceptual categories that will be used. Onora O’Neill’s classic account of ‘agents of justice’ is incomplete, failing to acknowledge the obstacles that agents of justice meet when trying to apply abstract theories and principles of justice to the real world. The agents involved in this essential moral task can be conceptualized as formative agents of global justice. Formative agency is best channelled through democratic deliberation. Debates in the philosophy of practical reason already emphasize the need for moral deliberation to render moral principles action-guiding. There, moral deliberation is conceived as an internal, solitary activity taking place in each person’s head. We argue that external, collective deliberative processes are better able to support this moral activity. The chapter also introduces a distinction between different agents of justice (formative agents of justice, global justice entrepreneurs, and effectors of global justice) and discusses the roles that they play in global governance.
The exercise of formative agency in global justice cannot be entrusted to any single category of agents exclusively, be it states, advocacy groups, or citizens. However, interactions across categories can compensate for the deficiencies of all of them. A systemic account of deliberative governance shows how formative agency can be distributed and cultivated across multiple sites, actors, and institutions. It is the deliberative capacity of the entire system that matters most. The process that yielded the Sustainable Development Goals implicitly recognized this by establishing multiple venues, decision-making groups, and negotiation tracks, infused with participatory norms. Yet there was no logic to their interaction – and links were often simply absent. This chapter supplies the logic and the links. Specific shortcomings can then be identified and corrected. For example, the absence of citizens in the interstate negotiations of the Open Working Group could be corrected by links with deliberative citizens’ assemblies. It is important to cultivate the agency of citizens and the global poor, in nodes, sites, and interactions in the system. Deliberative systems in global justice governance should develop reflexive capacity in order to reflect on and improve their own performance.
This chapter sets out the logic of the practical pursuit of global justice through global democratization. The theory rests on the concept of formative agents of justice, who shape what justice should mean in specific contexts, and how it should be sought. The chapter analyses formative agents’ role in bridging the gap between democracy and justice, thereby situating this book’s contribution within existing debates on international ethics, global justice, global governance, and deliberative democracy, before outlining the ways deliberative democracy can promote global justice. This approach meets challenges arising from the irreducible disagreement over the content of justice in both theory and practice, and from the need to identify who exactly should be responsible for the advancement of justice. The theoretical arguments of the book will be informed by and applied to the process that yielded the Sustainable Development Goals, and to climate governance inasmuch as it takes on climate justice. These two cases are introduced, along with a discussion of the kinds of justice they promote, ignore, and obstruct. Chapter 1 concludes with a brief overview of the remaining chapters.
States and international organizations are central to global governance, and are significant formative agents of justice (and injustice), in advancing, sifting, or undermining principles. Despite their formal authority, states and international organizations cannot be relied upon to promote global justice. States in practice often veil their material self-interest in the language of justice. International organizations too can promote their own interest, as well as adhering rigidly to dominant discourses such as neoliberalism that restrict the kind of justice they can advance. Thus states and international organizations should primarily act as effectors of global justice whose task is to ensure the outcomes determined in more extensive deliberation are implemented. Some of their problematic formative agency aspects can be ameliorated by deliberative democratic means. The Open Working Group that finalized the content of the Sustainable Development Goals is indicative of the possibilities here, as it embodied novel deliberative features that curbed polarization, overcame impasse, and facilitated common-interest justifications. Engagements with civil society of the kind now glimpsed in global climate governance can open international organizations to deliberating competing conceptions of justice. This chapter concludes by showing how states and international organizations might expand their deliberative engagements.
The tensions between democracy and justice have long preoccupied political theorists. Institutions that are procedurally democratic do not necessarily make substantively just decisions. Democratizing Global Justice shows that democracy and justice can be mutually reinforcing in global governance - a domain where both are conspicuously lacking - and indeed that global justice requires global democratization. This novel reconceptualization of the problematic relationship between global democracy and global justice emphasises the role of inclusive deliberative processes. These processes can empower the agents necessary to determine what justice should mean and how it should be implemented in any given context. Key agents include citizens and the global poor; and not just the states but also international organizations and advocacy groups active in global governance. The argument is informed by and applied to the decision process leading to adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, and climate governance inasmuch as it takes on questions of climate justice.
Deliberative democracy is well-suited to the challenges of governing in the Anthropocene. But deliberative democratic practices are only suited to these challenges to the extent that five prerequisites - empoweredness, embeddedness, experimentality, equivocality, and equitableness - are successfully institutionalized. Governance must be: created by those it addresses, applicable equally to all, capable of learning from (and adapting to) experience, rationally grounded, and internalized by those who adopt and experience it. This book analyzes these five major normative principles, pairing each with one of the Earth System Governance Project's analytical problems to provide an in-depth discussion of the minimal conditions for environmental governance that can be truly sustainable. It is ideal for scholars and graduate students in global environmental politics, earth system governance, and international environmental policy. This is one of a series of publications associated with the Earth System Governance Project. For more publications, see www.cambridge.org/earth-system-governance.
We evaluate whether people will outsource their opinion on public policy to consensus conference participants. The ideal consensus conference brings together a representative sample of citizens and introduces them to the range of perspectives and evidence related to some policy. The sample is given the opportunity to ask questions of experts and to deliberate. Attitudes about each policy are queried before and after the conference to see if the event has changed minds. In general, such conferences do produce opinion shifts. Our hypothesis is that the shift can be leveraged by simply communicating conference results – absent substantive information about the merits of the policies discussed – to scale up the value of conferences to the population at large. In five studies, we tell participants about the impact of a consensus conference on a sample of citizens’ opinions for a range of policies without providing any new information about the inherent value of the policy itself. For several of the policies, we see a shift in opinion. We conclude that the value of consensus conferences can be scaled up simply by telling an electorate about its results. This suggests an economical way to bring evidence and rational argument to bear on citizens’ policy attitudes.