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Mapping and Measuring Deliberative Processes: Macro-Micro Interfaces

P202
André Bächtiger
Universität Stuttgart
John Parkinson
Maastricht Universiteit
Building: Sciences Po Floor: 1st Floor Room: E119

Abstract

Despite the continuing interest in deliberation, little is known about the quality of deliberative processes. The knowledge we have is often more anecdotal than systematic; it focuses on deliberation’s effects rather than its internal processes (Ryfe 2005: 54); and its normative injunctions are still based on idealizations of actors, sites and processes more than well-grounded empirics. At the same time, deliberation has also become more diverse conceptually (Bächtiger et al. 2010). On the one hand, there is a shift from a classic to an expanded understanding of deliberation: deliberation is not only about rational argument but is opened up to a wide variety of communication practices, including emotional discourse and rhetoric. On the other hand, there is also a shift from a micro to a macro (or systemic) conception of deliberation: instead of focusing on face-to-face communication in a single forum, an increasing number of scholars emphasize the need to shift the focus to the linkages between sites, from the informal to the formal, the ad hoc or the long-term, in trans-national, even global systems as well as relatively local (Dryzek 2009; Parkinson and Mansbridge 2012). While these two shifts do not invalidate past efforts at mapping and measuring deliberation, they nonetheless present distinctive challenges for present attempts at capturing the quality of deliberative processes. The panel invites scholars to address these challenges and develop novel strategies of measuring deliberative qualities and capacities (with a particular eye on expanded forms of deliberation) as well as focusing on the interface between micro and macro deliberation. Particularly welcome will be papers combining theoretical approaches with empirical data.

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