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ECPR 50th Anniversary Fund

Expectations Towards Citizens in Democratic Innovations – Good, Bad or Just Different?

Political Participation
Political Theory
Panel Number
Panel Chair
Marta Wojciechowska
The London School of Economics & Political Science
Panel Co-Chair
Maija Setälä
University of Turku
Panel Discussant
Simon Niemeyer
Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra

24/08/2018 14:00 - 15:40
Building: VMP 8 Floor: 1 Room: 106
This panel addresses the question: What is and should be the scope of expectations towards citizens within democratic innovations? Mark Warren (2017) argues that we should abandon approaches based on ‘models’ of democracy which tend to provide very precise prescriptions of how citizens’ should behave. Instead, he argues, scholars should look out for three wider
functions which any democratic arrangements shall perform: empowered inclusion, collective agenda and will formation, and collective decision-making. Existing real-life democratic innovations assign different, yet quite precise roles and their combinations to various groups of citizens, e.g. citizens as information providers, agenda-setters, deliberators, and decision-makers. Can these roles be accommodated by democratic functions described by Warren? What kinds of problems might arise from democratic theoretical perspective when citizens are expected to act in particular roles? What kinds of interactions should and can be expected between citizens acting in specific roles? What are acceptable and non-acceptable ways of prescribing roles to citizens? Are there certain patterns of self-selection in how citizens adopt different roles – and if yes, do they give rise to concerns?

The panel combines both theoretical and empirical papers addressing these types of questions. Two theoretical papers included in the panel are critical in their assessment of expectations towards participants. Hammond argues that deliberative democratic innovations need to consider citizens as autonomous and proactive, and not as fitting the right characteristics to perform prescribed functions. Similarly, Knops argues that deliberative innovations should rather enhance the emancipatory capacity of citizens. Their concerns are supported by Sayman who analyses involvement of experts in deliberative mini-publics. Sayman shows that the participants' roles are often determined and limited by epistemic practices of representation.
Other empirical papers argue that democratic practice is more flexible than the theorist may have foreseen. More specifically, Bussu demonstrates how new forms of collaborative governance create flexible opportunities for forms of participation suitable to participants. Furthermore, Christensen, Himmelroos and Setälä investigate whether indeed the core aspect of the democratic governance, namely legitimacy, depends on the type of functions citizens perform in the democratic governance.

Paper List

Title Details
Collaborative Governance: Between Invited and Invented Spaces View Paper Details
Deliberative Democracy as a Critical Theory View Paper Details
How Do Experts Democratize Democracy? How are Participants' Roles Pre-Structured by Epistemic Practices of Representing Publics View Paper Details
Political Translation: How Deliberative Democracies Survive View Paper Details
Who Should Deliberate? Evidence from a Survey Experiment View Paper Details
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