To deliberate or not to deliberate:a qualitative analysis of (non-)participation in mini-publics

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

An increasing number of scholars and political actors support the development of mini-publics – that is, deliberative forums with randomly selected lay citizens. It is often argued that such innovations are a key ingredient to curing the democratic malaise of contemporary political regimes because they provide an appropriate means to achieve inclusiveness and well considered judgment. Nevertheless, real-life experience shows that the majority of citizens refuse the invitation when they are recruited. This raises a challenging question for the development of a more inclusive democracy: Why do citizens decline or accept to participate in minipublics ? This article addresses this issue through a qualitative analysis of the perspectives of those who have been contacted to participate in three mini-publics: the G1000, the G100 and the Climate Citizens Parliament. Drawing on in-depth interviews, six explanatory logics of non-participation are distinguished: concentration on the private sphere; internal political inefficacy; public meeting avoidance; conflict of schedule; political alienation; and mini-public’s lack of impact on the political system. We also investigate why some citizens are attracted by the mini-publics. This shows that the reluctance to take part in mini-publics is rooted in the way individuals conceive their own roles, abilities and capacities in the public sphere, as well as in the perceived output of such democratic innovations.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventColloquium Politische Theorie und Empirische Demokratieforschung - Stuttgart, Germany
Duration: 6 Nov 20166 Nov 2017

Conference

ConferenceColloquium Politische Theorie und Empirische Demokratieforschung
Country/TerritoryGermany
CityStuttgart
Period6/11/166/11/17

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