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Putting the Systemic Turn into a Systematic Test: Evidence from the Interactive Experiments of the Public Sphere and Mini-Publics in Japan

Citizenship
Democracy
Democratisation
Airo Hino
Waseda University
Airo Hino
Waseda University
Masahisa Endo
Waseda University
Arata Yamazaki
Musashino University
Ryo Chiba
Waseda University

Abstract

Recent developments in the systemic turn in deliberative democratic theory have enriched our understanding about deliberation in the macro polity. Yet little is known about how macro 'systemic' perspectives influence deliberation in micro settings. To fill this gap, we examine how individuals participating in mini-publics discuss and change their attitudes and perceptions once they are given the information about how the public deliberated on the same topic. We first conducted a CASI (Computer-Assisted Self-administered Interview) survey on the issue of immigration to randomly selected samples. In the survey, respondents were asked what they thought about the issue of immigration. After being provided with balanced background information about the various perspectives in relation to immigration, their opinion about the issue after 'deliberation within' was asked again. Next, another set of individuals were randomly selected to participate in a mini-publics experiment on the same immigration issue. The same CASI survey was implemented for all participants prior to the group deliberation where each group was composed of about 8 individuals. Half of the groups (i.e. 20 groups) were given, on top of the basic background materials, the information about how the public thought about the issue and the transformative impact of the previous 'deliberation-within' experiment. Based on the content analyses of the transcripts of discussions, we investigate how the public perspective from the macro polity can alter the foci and nature of deliberation. We also test differences in opinion shift between the groups. While putting 'systemic turn' into a systematic test, the paper sheds light on the importance of deliberating from the macro public sphere perspective and aims to bridge the experimental studies of interpersonal deliberation and the macro deliberative theory.