Reaching out to overcome political apathy: Building participatory capacity through deliberative engagement

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Abstract

A common objection against deliberative democracy relates to the impression that citizens, in general, are unwilling to participate in democratic politics. We contribute to the growing literature that challenges this impression by analyzing the discursive profile of citizens that participate in deliberation. By discursive profile, we refer to participants' own perceived role in the democratic process and their articulated motivations for joining a deliberative forum. We find that those who turned up in face-to-face deliberation tend to be less cynical toward politics. Moreover, based on their expressed motivations for participating, it can be inferred that linking the deliberative forum to decision makers provided an initial hook to participants. However, this changed as participants completed the process. At the end of deliberations, appreciation for the process itself ended up being the most resonant sentiment. These findings are based on both quantitative and qualitative analyses of data gathered from Australia's First Citizens' Parliament
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-383
Number of pages29
JournalPolitics and Policy
Volume41
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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