Institutional listening in deliberative democracy: Towards a deliberative logic of transmission

Mary F. Scudder, Selen A. Ercan, Kerry McCallum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the role of institutional listening in deliberative democracy, focusing particularly on its contribution to the transmission process between the public sphere and formal institutions. We critique existing accounts of transmission for prioritizing voice over listening and for remaining constrained by an ‘aggregative logic’ of the flow of ideas and voices in a democracy. We argue that formal institutions have a crucial role to play in ensuring transmission operates according to a more deliberative logic. To substantiate this argument, we focus on two recent examples of institutional listening in two different democracies: Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the United States’ Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. These cases show that institutional listening can take different forms; it can be purposefully designed or incidental, and it can contribute to the realization of deliberative democracy in various ways. Specifically, institutional listening can help enhance the credibility and visibility of minority groups and perspectives while also empowering these groups to better hold formal political institutions accountable. In these ways, institutional listening helps transmission operate according to a more deliberative logic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-53
Number of pages16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


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