The Squared Circle of Participatory Democracy: Scaling-up Deliberation to the National Level

34 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2012 Last revised: 28 Aug 2013

Thamy Pogrebinschi

WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

This paper takes issue with the question of scaling up deliberation in connection to that of enlarged participation. Its aim is to argue that deliberation can be feasible and effective in wide participatory experiments, and therefore it can scale up to the national level and affect public decisions once the appropriate institutional design is in place. I propose feasibility and effectiveness as two overlapping dimensions of scaling-up deliberation. As for the feasibility dimension, I will argue that the institutional design of large participatory experiments should allow the kind of deliberation found in minipublics to scale up accordingly to three criteria: space, volume and actors. As for the effectiveness dimension, I will argue that large participatory experiments should provide that the deliberation process follows the criteria of transformation and impact in order to scale-up local preferences to the national level and make sure they affect policymaking. Such theoretical framework will be tested against the empirical background provided by the world’s largest participatory experiment known to date, the National Public Policy Conferences in Brazil.

Keywords: Democracy, Participation, Deliberation

Suggested Citation

Pogrebinschi, Thamy, The Squared Circle of Participatory Democracy: Scaling-up Deliberation to the National Level (2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2104699 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2104699

Thamy Pogrebinschi (Contact Author)

WZB Berlin Social Science Center ( email )

Reichpietschufer 50
Berlin, 10785
Germany

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