Interest in deliberative forms of public engagement is growing in Scotland. There have been many studies of deliberative participation across the globe, and in particular mini-publics such as citizens’ juries. But this new report is unique as it provides an unusually detailed account for practitioners, policy workers, decision makers and researchers interested in developing deliberative public forums.The three citizens’ juries were part of ClimateXChange’s research programme, and dealt with the issue of onshore wind farm development in Scotland.
Here is what people have said about the project and the report:
Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment Marco Biagi MSP said: “Involving people and communities in decision-making leads to better results, more responsive services and gives communities the chance to have a say on how ideas are delivered.”
“This exciting project offers valuable lessons which will help our efforts to boost participation in local democracy and improve community engagement.”
Project Manager for ClimateXChange Ragne Low said: “This report provides robust evidence of how we can create processes that will be trusted by communities and balance different views. It also gives very practical advice about organising and facilitating good quality public engagement to support decision making.”
“Participatory forums like citizens’ juries are not an easy option. They need very careful planning and experienced facilitators who make sure that the process is balanced, inclusive and that all voices are heard. What we saw in the juries was real appreciation of getting balanced expert opinion and working through difficult questions together.”
Research Director Dr Oliver Escobar, said: “The research findings are very timely given the appetite for more participation at all levels of society in post-referendum Scotland.”
“To solve the many pressing problems of our time we need new political spaces that bring forth the voices of those seldom heard. Mini-publics like citizens’ juries may provide some of those spaces.”
‘Deliberation and Development: Rethinking the Role of Voice and Collective Action in Unequal Societies’, edited by Patrick Heller and Vijayendra Rao
“Deliberation and Development is a true landmark that establishes, surveys, and celebrates a rich field of study with crucial practical relevance. The striking and sometimes counterintuitive insights formulated by its contributors concerning the broad reach of deliberation should prompt rethinking of crucial questions in development, as well as reformulation of key aspects of the theory of deliberative democracy.”
Prof. John Dryzek, Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, University of Canberra.
The book is published under a Creative Commons license and can, therefore, be downloaded for free HERE.
This book marries two fields that rarely converse with one another: deliberative democracy and development studies. The study of deliberation has emerged as a critical area of study over the past two decades. Concurrently, the field of development has seen a spurt of interest in community-led development and participation premised on the ability of groups to arrive at decisions and manage resources via a process of discussion and debate. Despite the growing interest in both fields, they have rarely engaged with one another.
This book, which brings together new essays by some of the leading scholars in the field, deepens our understanding of participatory decision making in developing countries while initiating a new field of study for scholars of deliberation. In the process, it sheds light on how to best design and implement policies to strengthen the role of participation in development. Contributors: Arjun Appadurai, Gianpaolo Biaocchi, Peter Evans, Archon Fung, Varun Gauri, Gerry Mackie, Jane Mansbridge, Paromita Sanyal, JP Singh, Ann Swidler, and Susan Watkins.
Thanks to Prof. John Parkinson for two interesting days of conversations about deliberative democracy in Scotland. Here I’m re-blogging John’s initial thoughts posted originally in his blog.
The last two days I’ve been in Edinburgh talking with academic colleagues, civil servants, activists and think tankers, journalists and interested others about deliberative systems. I’ve been interested in applying deliberative systems thinking to get a handle on the quality and extent of public debate in the run-up to, and beyond, last year’s Scottish independence referendum.
I stress the “talking with” part. It’s been a remarkable two days because I’ve been listening and learning as much as talking and debating. This is because Scotland is a hot-bed of development for deliberative and participatory democracy following the “indyref”.
The events — a public lecture followed by small group discussions and questions, and a smaller workshop on the ideals for large-scale deliberation — were organised and hosted by the Academy of Government at Edinburgh University, especially the inextinguishable Oliver Escobar. My sincere thanks to him and all the team, and to all…
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So Say Scotland is a voluntary, non-profit and non-partisan hub for democratic innovation. Their work on fostering citizen participation over the last two years includes the 2013 Thinking Together Citizens’ Assembly and the 2014 referendum cards game Wee Play.
So Say’s contribution to participatory politics, deliberative democracy and collective action has now been recognised by Nesta and The Observer in the New Radicals 2014 list, which includes “Fifty radical thinking individuals or organisations changing Britain for the better”. A judging panel selected the final fifty from over 1000 submissions.
I am delighted for the amazing network of democratic innovators behind So Say Scotland.
See more information about New Radicals 2014 here.