A1 Journal article – refereed
Connecting deliberative mini-publics to representative decision making

List of Authors: Setälä Maija
Publisher: Wiley
Publication year: 2017
Journal: European Journal of Political Research
Volume number: 56
eISSN: 1475-6765


Despite some prominent critics, deliberative democrats tend to be optimistic about the potential
of deliberative mini-publics. However, the problem with current practices is that mini-publics are typically
used by officials on an ad hoc basis and that their policy impacts remain vague. Mini-publics seem
especially hard to integrate into representative decision making. There are a number of reasons for
this, especially prevailing ideas of representation and accountability as well as the contestatory character
of representative politics. This article argues that deliberative mini-publics should be regarded as one
possible way of improving the epistemic quality of representative decision making and explores different
institutional designs through which deliberative mini-publics could be better integrated into representative
institutions. The article considers arrangements which institutionalise the use of mini-publics; involve
representatives in deliberations; motivate public interactions between mini-publics and representatives;
and provide opportunities to ex post scrutiny or suspensive veto powers for mini-publics. The article
analyses prospects and problems of these measures, and considers their applicability in different contexts of
representative politics.

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Last updated on 2019-12-06 at 16:07