The first comprehensive account of the booming phenomenon of deliberative mini-publics, this book offers a systematic review of their variety, discusses their weaknesses, and recommends ways to make them a viable component of democracy.
The book takes stock of the diverse practices of deliberative mini-publics and, more concretely, looks at preconditions, processes, and outcomes. It provides a critical assessment of the experience with mini-publics; in particular their lack of policy impact.
Bringing together leading scholars in the field, notably James S Fishkin and Mark E Warren, Deliberative Mini-Publics will speak to anyone with an interest in democracy and democratic innovations.
'Deliberative Mini-Publics offers a multifaceted exploration — at once normative, empirical and practical — of a growing family of institutional innovations that aim to deepen democracy by fostering citizen participation and deliberation that is fair, wise, and inclusive. This volume comes at an urgent moment when many peoples are losing faith in the central institutions that constitute representative democracy — from elections to political parties to the state itself. It offers a science and philosophy to begin to rebuild that faith by reinventing the institutions of democratic engagement.'
Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Citizenship, Harvard Kennedy School
'Mini-publics are an important and exciting innovation in our democratic repertoire. Bächtiger, Grönlund and Setälä have brought together some of the very best scholars working on this subject and produced an outstanding volume that showcases the most up-to-date thinking and the latest research ‒ both empirical and theoretical ‒ on mini-publics. A must-read book for anyone interested in deliberative democracy and citizen participation.'
Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto
'Those committed to a deliberative conception of democracy are notable for seeking to see how deliberative theory can be implemented through mini-publics. This strength of deliberative theoretical work can make it hard for the interested reader to follow developments, since there is a wealth of invention and innovation. This invaluable volume provides just what is needed. The contributions bring the reader up to date with developments in theory and practice, and open up new lines of theoretical and empirical enquiry, particularly in relation to the ways mini-publics fall short of requirements of political equality, the understanding of mini-publics in terms of experimental design, and the role of facilitation in deliberative events.'
Professor of Political Theory and Public Policy, University College London
'This edition on deliberative mini-publics combines in a very innovative way conceptual and empirical research. It takes into account that the question is no longer ‘whether deliberative mini-publics work’, but examines the outcomes and impacts of different concepts, designs and processes. Consequently it is a great starting point for answering the question whether and how deliberative mini-publics can enhance the quality of democracy. It pools all important players in the field, providing a comprehensive overview of the current state of the art and is indispensable for anybody interested in developments towards more deliberative forms of democracy.'
Head of the Democratic Innovations Research Unit, Goethe University, Frankfurt