When Digital Mass Participation Meets Citizen Deliberation: Combining Mini- and Maxi-Publics in Climate Policy-Making

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Abstract

The upcoming vogue of climate assemblies and other forms of mini-publics are to give citizens a central role in climate policy-making and to break the political impasse. Yet climate mini-publics face challenges in political environments too, such as co-option, favoring expert opinions, and losing touch with the broader public. To remedy such pitfalls, recent papers have argued to combine synchronous deliberations of small groups of citizens with online participation procedures for the larger public. In this article, we report the results of a three-step combination model, where first a mini-public in the region of Súdwest-Fryslân (NL) was given a “carte blanche” to draft the content and the parameters of several related policy alternatives. Second, their proposals were fed into a digital participation tool to consult the wider public. Third, a citizens forum translated the outcomes of the maxi-public into policy recommendations, which were unanimously approved by the municipal council. In this paper, we report our findings of combining mini- and maxi-publics and how the actors involved evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of the combination of these two participatory approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4656
JournalSustainability
Volume14
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • public participation
  • digital deliberation
  • mini-publics
  • maxi-publics
  • climate assembly
  • participatory value evaluation

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