Accepted Paper:

Doing "deliberative mini-publics": tracing translocal networks of experimentation with democratic innovations - does politics become technologized?  

Authors:

Jan-Peter Voß (Berlin University of Technology)
Volkan Sayman (Technical University of Berlin)
Sina Birkholz (Technical University of Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

We argue that the network of sites in which the model of deliberative mini-publics is developed and deployed constitutes a new space of democratic culture cutting across and interfering with various regionally established cultures of politics.

Paper long abstract:

Since around 1970, "deliberative mini-publics" have spread across the globe. Part of a larger movement to innovate democracy, this model is based on moderated processes of deliberation among a group of representatively sampled citizens, seeking to realize Habermas' theory of communicative action. Our research project takes this model of organizing citizen participation as a case study for addressing larger questions: What is the relevance of 'knowledge spaces' for late modern politics? How do expert-led articulations of policy models actually shape political reality? How do certain models that describe what politics is and how it is to be done circulate? How are citizen-selves and imaginaries of politics (re)produced by these models and their enactment?

We argue that the network of sites in which the model of deliberative mini-publics is developed and deployed constitutes a new space of democratic culture cutting across and interfering with various regionally established cultures of politics. This new space comprises sites where the model is applied as well as sites where the model is scientifically develooped, where it is negotiated as a professional standard, or marketed as a tool for policy makers. For studying the emerging translocal knowledge spaces of politics we depart from studies of laboratory practices and epistemic cultures as well as from policy mobilities, translations and assemblages. We follow the model as it moves and transforms through different contexts, and we analyse how practices of doing deliberative mini-publics are linked across sites materially and discursively, and how these translocal connections shape local practices.

Panel E09
Experiments in democracy