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Introducing Democratic Innovations as a Response to the Crisis: The Deliberative Ecologies of the Estonian ’Citizens’ Assembly Process’
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Center for Democratic Government in Change)
2014 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

We live in an era of multiple crises, which provides an interesting venue for empirical analyses. While some governments tend to see greater participation and democratic innovation as an unnecessary luxury in times of crises, it is has instead become an absolute necessity for others.With the recent ‘systemic turn’ within deliberative research, scholars in the field are encouraged to broaden the perspectives of deliberative analysis by studying the deliberative system as a whole instead of individual institutions, practices and arenas. Contrary to the study of the particular, the systemic approach asses’ institutions, practices and arenas “according to how well they perform the functions necessary to promote the goals of the systems” (Mansbridge et al. 2012, p. 10).This paper will draw upon a qualitative case study of the ‘People’s Assembly’ in Estonia, which followed a political scandal involving a scheme of illegal party financing in the autumn of 2012. The latent distrust towards the political system in Estonia soon developed into a legitimacy crisis, characterized by anti-political sentiments and antagonism, which culminated in the pamphlet Harta 12 (Charter 12) and an online petition with more than 18,000 signatures. The process that followed introduced a number of state-of-the-art innovative solutions, including online crowdsourcing to collect policy proposals from citizens, and a modified version of a ‘Deliberation Day’ in which a random sample of citizens from the whole country was invited to participate.Departing from Mansbridge et al’s (2012) ‘systemic approach’, and adding some insights from the field of ‘democratic innovations’, this article analyses the different parts of the ‘Peoples Assembly Process’ from their epistemic, ethical, democratic and policy-making function, and how the individual parts relates to the deliberative system as a whole.The main conclusion of the article is that the ‘Citizens’ assembly process’ did indeed involve all the deliberative functions that a systemic approach sets up, and that the process thus must be considered to be a well-functioning deliberative process, although at an early developmental stage.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
Keywords [en]
Crisis, democratic innovation, deliberative systems, crowdsourcing, deliberative democracy
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-39679OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-39679DiVA, id: diva2:771659
Conference
5th Annual International Conference on Democracy as Idea and Practice, Oslo, Norway, January 8-9, 2014
Projects
Citizen-Centric e-Participation
Funder
VINNOVAAvailable from: 2014-12-15 Created: 2014-12-15 Last updated: 2018-01-11Bibliographically approved

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Jonsson, Magnus

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf