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Anton Shablinskiy   1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

On Mini-Publics in Deliberative Democracies: Inefficient Instrument or Arendt’s “Oasis of Freedom”?

2018, vol. 17, No. 4, pp. 103–116 [issue contents]
According to the standard of legitimacy provided by different theorists of deliberative democracy, a collective decision could be defined as legitimate if it is rendered in accordance with a collective deliberative procedure by citizens who will be subject to this decision. In the beginning of the noughties, deliberationists became more concerned with the implementation of this ideal so that citizens could have more possibilities to take part in deliberative collective decision-making. One of the institutions which were thought to better involve citizens in deliberative decision-making and to ensure the legitimacy of outcomes were mini-publics. Mini-publics are deliberative forums composed of lay citizens who communicate about questions of the political agenda. However, using mini-publics can eventually lead to situations when citizens are “bypassed” in the process of collective decision-making. So, in our article, firstly, we will briefly discuss the standard of legitimacy provided by the theorists of deliberative democracy and the concept of mini-publics. Secondly, we will analyze how using mini-publics can lead to the exclusion of citizens from the process of collective deliberative decision-making. Finally, we will consider how Arendt’s theory of councils can be used to transform the concept of mini-publics so these institutions will lead not to a “bypassing” of the people, but to the more inclusive process of collective deliberative decision-making.
Citation: Shablinskii A. (2018) O mini-publikakh v deliberativnykh demokratiyakh: bespoleznye instituty ili «oazisy svobody»? [On Mini-Publics in Deliberative Democracies: Inefficient Instrument or Arendt’s “Oasis of Freedom”?]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 17, no 4, pp. 103-116
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