Browsing by Subject "deliberative democracy"

Sort by: Order: Results:

Now showing items 1-2 of 2
  • Bärlund, Hanna-Maria (Helsingfors universitet, 2011)
    Since the beginning of the 1990s the emphasis of participatory democracy has become stronger in Finnish policy- and decision-making. This development involves various stakeholders participating in negotiations, or more specifically deliberations, around current issues in order to reach consensus and enable a continuance in the policy process. According to research, the more consensual a democracy is the more favourable are the policy outcomes towards environmental issues. The three case studies investigated, ie. the Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland, the Working Group on Renewable Energy, and the Natura 2000 Network of European Union nature protection areas, support this notion. The case studies are focused on how the key players involved have conceived the decision-making process in terms of achieved goals and degree of agreement as well as on the specific issue context as a backdrop to the development of policy. The cases displayed significant differences of outcomes depending on the achieved level of consensus and deliberation. The outcomes are analysed within the theoretical frameworks of Arend Lijpharts consensus vs majoritarian model of democracy and Martin Jänickes consensual capacity for ecological modernisation. Further, applying Joshua Cohens theory of deliberative democracy and his suggestions for achieving ideal deliberation, the results suggest that the connection between consensus democracy and more effective environmental conservation policy is not that clear-cut. Nevertheless, consensus democracy provides a promising point of departure for overcoming the main disputes between the stakeholders, and common starting points and general goals to be agreed on, which is crucial in order for any progress in environmental conservation to take place.
  • Scholz, Svenja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    After the all-time low voter turnout in the European elections in 2014, the European Parliament faces its legiti-macy being undermined. While the mass media is often made responsible for being a major contributor to the lack of an active political European public sphere where the EU governance can be debated, social media has been considered as a means to connect the European institutions and its citizens through direct communi-cation. From the viewpoint of deliberative democratic theory, the European Parliament can restore legitimacy through engaging citizens in public deliberation and involving them in the European decision-making process. At the same time, political institutions are known for their attempts to generate legitimacy in social media through promotional campaigns that do not stipulate policy impact. This study contributes to the debate about the European public sphere by exploring the motivations behind the European Parliament’s institutional communication on the social networking site Facebook. Its theoreti-cal underpinning hence links together the debates about the EU’s democratic deficit on the one hand, and the democratic potential of social media on the other. Specifically, this research scrutinises how the members of the European Parliament’s Web Communication unit make sense of their work practices on Facebook and which role they ascribe to themselves and other actors in the construction of a European public sphere. The goal is to offer a critical assessment of the European Parliament’s Facebook communication against the back-drop of the normative framework derived from the deliberative theory of public sphere. The qualitative research is based on two data sets: The first data set was collected through participant obser-vation in the European Parliament’s Web Communication unit in February 2018; the second one through eight semi-structured interviews with the Unit’s communication officials working with Facebook. Based on positioning theory, an interpretative interview analysis is conducted. The findings assert that the European Parliament’s Facebook communication must be understood as a politi-cal, top-down, promotional campaign rather than an attempt to engage ordinary citizens in an online delibera-tion. Thus, it does not provide for a systematic political bottom-up policy impact. The findings hence support the view that the narrative of social media connecting political actors and the citizens is most of all put forward to legitimise political promotion. This study moreover emphasises a liberal representative understanding rather than a deliberative understanding of European democracy within the European Parliament’s administration. Accordingly, the role of the European Parliament web communication officials in the European public sphere is to substitute the weak media coverage about the Parliament and raise aware-ness about its benefits to the voters.