Policy Sciences

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 173–190 | Cite as

Linking mini-publics to the deliberative system: a research agenda

Research Article

Abstract

The systemic turn in deliberative democratic theory has shifted the focus away from seeking to design separate, internally deliberative ‘mini-publics’ and towards a new appreciation of their external, systemic quality. Yet, so far, such accounts have not gone beyond recognising a potential for mini-publics to contribute to deliberative systems. In this paper, we argue that a systemic conceptualisation of mini-publics must recognise their fundamentally ambivalent character: Since mini-publics have the potential both to foster and to undermine systemic deliberation, it is insufficient to celebrate their positive potential alone, and vital to develop frameworks that allow for a critical evaluation of mini-publics’ systemic role. To this end, we propose a framework based on the systemic qualities of deliberation-making, legitimacy-seeking and capacity-building, and conclude that key to mini-publics’ quality, when judged against these criteria, is not just their own features, but the degree of ‘co-development’ of all system components.

Keywords

Deliberative democracy Mini-publics Deliberative system 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, Innovation CentreUniversity of CanberraBruceAustralia
  2. 2.Keele UniversityStaffordshireUK

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