Social regeneration is tightly interconnected with political regeneration and revitalisation of democratic regimes. The situation of representative democracy in the contemporary world appears somewhat paradoxical: on one hand, since the late ’80s, it has apparently become hegemonic, winning the competition with other forms of political regimes; at the same time, it is affected by a deep legitimation crisis. Even more importantly, the locus of decisions has shifted away from the political and public sphere to arenas over which the (supposedly sovereign) people exert no influence or control at all. Assuming that democracy ensures its members’ values that are normatively desirable (such as political rights and protection against arbitrary exercise of coercion), what can be done to tackle its present difficulties? Perhaps the answer lies “simply” in the root of the word and meaning of democracy: bringing the people back into the processes by which collective decisions are made and giving some of the power (kratos) back to the demos, i.e. “participation”. The problem is that citizen participation, as it is usually practiced, is hardly meaningful or credible; furthermore, even the two fundamental channels of citizen engagement within representative democracy—voting and parties—have lost much of their appeal. Over the last half decade, an innovative form of citizen engagement has been developed and put into practice in many parts of the world: deliberative participation. After discussing the malaise affecting contemporary representative democracy, this chapter singles out and examines six distinctive features of deliberative participation that distinguish it from other more traditional forms of engagement: inclusion; information; dialogue and deliberation; consensus; empowerment. It then proceeds to answer the question of what can be the added value for society generated by such deliberative processes, focusing in particular on its capability to contribute to better decision-making and to social capital regeneration. Finally, it briefly addresses another critical issue, i.e. whether deliberative participation should be institutionalised, and how that might be done. Though the chapter focuses on the polity, similar considerations can apply also to the public and collective sphere more broadly, including the varied forms of aggregations of society, that could use this approach in their internal decision-making, as well as promoting this form of involvement in public decision-making in their respective fields of action.

Deliberative Participation: Bringing the Citizens Back In

Rodolfo Lewanski
2018

Abstract

Social regeneration is tightly interconnected with political regeneration and revitalisation of democratic regimes. The situation of representative democracy in the contemporary world appears somewhat paradoxical: on one hand, since the late ’80s, it has apparently become hegemonic, winning the competition with other forms of political regimes; at the same time, it is affected by a deep legitimation crisis. Even more importantly, the locus of decisions has shifted away from the political and public sphere to arenas over which the (supposedly sovereign) people exert no influence or control at all. Assuming that democracy ensures its members’ values that are normatively desirable (such as political rights and protection against arbitrary exercise of coercion), what can be done to tackle its present difficulties? Perhaps the answer lies “simply” in the root of the word and meaning of democracy: bringing the people back into the processes by which collective decisions are made and giving some of the power (kratos) back to the demos, i.e. “participation”. The problem is that citizen participation, as it is usually practiced, is hardly meaningful or credible; furthermore, even the two fundamental channels of citizen engagement within representative democracy—voting and parties—have lost much of their appeal. Over the last half decade, an innovative form of citizen engagement has been developed and put into practice in many parts of the world: deliberative participation. After discussing the malaise affecting contemporary representative democracy, this chapter singles out and examines six distinctive features of deliberative participation that distinguish it from other more traditional forms of engagement: inclusion; information; dialogue and deliberation; consensus; empowerment. It then proceeds to answer the question of what can be the added value for society generated by such deliberative processes, focusing in particular on its capability to contribute to better decision-making and to social capital regeneration. Finally, it briefly addresses another critical issue, i.e. whether deliberative participation should be institutionalised, and how that might be done. Though the chapter focuses on the polity, similar considerations can apply also to the public and collective sphere more broadly, including the varied forms of aggregations of society, that could use this approach in their internal decision-making, as well as promoting this form of involvement in public decision-making in their respective fields of action.
Social Regulation and Local Development. Cooperation, Social Economy and Public Participation
155
174
Rodolfo, Lewanski
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/661311
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