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Deliberative Reforms in the Political System

English title Deliberative Reforms in the Political System
Applicant Bächtiger André
Number 128576
Funding scheme SNSF Professorships
Research institution
Institution of higher education University of Lucerne - LU
Main discipline Political science
Start/End 01.08.2010 - 31.07.2014
Approved amount 950'580.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Political science
Philosophy

Keywords (6)

Deliberation; Institutional Research; Political Psychology; Political Philosophy; Experimental Research; Institutions

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Lay summary
Ziel des Projekts ist, die Möglichkeiten deliberativer Reformen in der existierenden Politik auszuloten. Deliberation wird dabei als Prozess des argumentativen und respektvollen Abwägens von Argumenten und Alternativen definiert. In den letzten Jahren ist Deliberation zum Fokalpunkt in der politischen Philosophie geworden. Viele Deliberationstheoretiker erwarten, dass deliberative Prozesse politische Entscheide begünstigen, die Gemeinwohlinteressen befördern.Im Projekt geht es um die "analytische" und "strukturelle" Dimension deliberativer Politik. Die "analytische" Dimension fokussiert auf die Bedingungen, unter denen Deliberation in der realen Politik funktionieren kann. Hier besteht die Herausforderung darin, einen einheitlicheren analytischen Ansatz zu entwickeln, um deliberative Prozesse und die daraus resultierenden Politikergebnisse besser zu verstehen. So bilden beispielsweise politische Institutionen (wie Konkordanz) oft lediglich einen Rahmen für deliberatives Handeln; damit deliberative Ideale aber verwirklicht werden können, müssen die Institutionen mit bestimmten Akteurscharakteristika (wie deliberative Prädispositionen), einer spezifischen Gruppenzusammensetzung (z.B. ein hoher Anteil von Frauen) und deliberativen Dynamiken (wie einem entsprechenden "Framing" des Themas) zusammenspielen. Dies führt zu einer Mehrebenen-Konzeption von Deliberation, wobei hierarchich höher angesiedelte Faktoren (wie Institutionen) hierarchisch tiefer angesiedelte Faktoren (wie Akteurscharateristika) beeinflussen können. So können beispielsweise Institutionen die Effekte von Akteurscharakteristika vergrössern (oder verkleinern). Empirisch werden die Hypothesen anhand von Experimenten und Beobachtungsstudien überprüft. Die Experimente bilden die Logiken der verschiedenen institutionellen und akteursrelevanten Charakteristika nach. Die Experimente werden mit Beobachtungsstudien zu parlamentarischen Entscheidungsprozessen ergänzt, um so die externe Validität der experimentell gewonnenen Einsichten zu überprüfen. Dabei wird auf eine umfangreiche Datenbank zu Parlamentsdebatten in der Schweiz, Deutschland, USA und Grossbritannien zurückgegriffen. In einem zweiten Schritt untersucht das Projekt die "strukturelle" Dimension deliberativer Reformen. Hier geht es insbesondere um die Frage, ob Bürgerinnen und Bürger mehr Deliberation in der Politik wünschen und ein entsprechendes Verhalten ihrer politischen Repräsentanten auch akzeptieren würden (oder ob sie den kompetitiven Debattenstil aktueller Politik bevorzugen). Dieser Frage wird anhand von Fokusgruppen in der Schweiz und Grossbritannien überprüft.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
“What drives the Polarization and Moderation of Opinions? Evidence from a Finnish Citizen Deliberation Experiment on Immigration
Lindell Marina, Bächtiger André, Grönlund Kimmo, Setälä Maija, Herne Kaisa, Wyss Dominik (2016), “What drives the Polarization and Moderation of Opinions? Evidence from a Finnish Citizen Deliberation Experiment on Immigration, in European Journal of Political Research, 56(1), 23-45.
Deliberative and Non-Deliberative Persuasion: Opinion Change in a Pan-European Deliberative Poll (Europolis)
Gerber Marlène Bächtiger André Fiket Irena Steenbergen Marco R. Steiner Jürg (2016), Deliberative and Non-Deliberative Persuasion: Opinion Change in a Pan-European Deliberative Poll (Europolis), in European Union Politics, 15(3), 410-429.
Deliberative Mini-Publics: Involving citizens in the democratic process
Grönlund Kimmo Bächtiger André Setälä Maija (2014), Deliberative Mini-Publics: Involving citizens in the democratic process, ECPR Press, Colchester.
Empirische Deliberationsforschung – ein systematischer Überblick
Bächtiger André (2013), Empirische Deliberationsforschung – ein systematischer Überblick, in Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft, 7, 155-181.
Mediation and Conflict Prevention
Eisenkopf Gerald und André Bächtiger (2013), Mediation and Conflict Prevention, in Journal of Conflict Resolution, 57(4), 570-597.
Religious reasons in the public sphere: an empirical study of religious actors’ argumentative patterns in Swiss direct-democratic campaigns
Bächtiger André Könemann Judith Jödicke Ansgar (2012), Religious reasons in the public sphere: an empirical study of religious actors’ argumentative patterns in Swiss direct-democratic campaigns, in European Political Science Review, 5(1), 105-131.
Toward a Deliberative Global Citizens’ Assembly John
Dryzek John Bächtiger André Milewicz Karolina (2011), Toward a Deliberative Global Citizens’ Assembly John, in Global Policy, 2(1), 33-42.
Deliberative Abilities and Influence in a Transnational Deliberative Poll (Europois
Gerber Marlène, Bächtiger André, Shikano Susumu, Reber Simon, Rohr Samuel, Deliberative Abilities and Influence in a Transnational Deliberative Poll (Europois, in British Journal of Political Science.
Deliberative Inclusion of Minorities: Patterns of Reciprocity among Linguistic Groups in Switzerland.
Pedrini Seraina André Bächtiger and Marco R. Steenbergen, Deliberative Inclusion of Minorities: Patterns of Reciprocity among Linguistic Groups in Switzerland., in European Political Science Review.
Small Differences that Matter: The Impact of Discussion Modalities on Deliberative Outcomes
Baccaro Lucio Bächtiger André Deville Marion, Small Differences that Matter: The Impact of Discussion Modalities on Deliberative Outcomes, in British Journal of Political Science.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
D:CE (Democracy: A Citizen Perspective), Åbo Akademi/University of Turku, Finland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Australian National University, Canberra Australia (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
University of Newcastle, Geography. Politics and Sociology Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
University of Geneva, Institute of Sociology Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
ECPR General Conference Glasgow Talk given at a conference Gentlemanly Conversation or Vigorous Disputation? 03.09.2014 Glasgow, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Bächtiger André;
ECPR General Conference Bordeaux Talk given at a conference Organizing Deliberation Optimally 05.09.2013 Bordeaux, France Wyss Dominik; Bächtiger André;
Workshop on experimental research in Turku/Åbo Talk given at a conference Organizing Deliberation Optimally 19.05.2013 Turku/Åbo, Finland Bächtiger André; Wyss Dominik;
APSA Task Force Getting to Yes in Politics Individual talk Deliberative Negotiations 22.03.2013 Vancouver, Canada Bächtiger André;
IESA Conference on Participation Talk given at a conference Measuring Deliberation 03.11.2011 Cordoba, Spain, Spain Bächtiger André;
Conference on Epistemic Democracy in Practice Talk given at a conference Contestatory Deliberation 20.10.2011 New Haven, Yale University, United States of America Bächtiger André;
ECPR Joint Sessions, Workshop "Frontiers of Deliberation" Talk given at a conference Deliberative Abilities of Ordinary Citizens 12.04.2011 St. Gallen, Switzerland Bächtiger André;
Talk at University College London Talk given at a conference “Contestatory Deliberation” 04.11.2010 University College London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Bächtiger André;
APSA Annual Meeting 2010 Talk given at a conference Agonistic Inquiry 01.09.2010 Washington D.C., United States of America Bächtiger André;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Deliberation in der Konsensdemokratie Talk 24.08.2014 Winterthur, Switzerland Bächtiger André;
Deliberation in der Konsensdemokratie Talk 24.08.2013 Winterthur, Switzerland Bächtiger André;
Deliberation in der Konsensdemokratie Talk 25.08.2012 Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften, Winterthur, Switzerland Bächtiger André;
Doctoral course on “Arguments and Advances” in Democratic Theory, organized by the D:CE (Democracy: A Citizen Perspective) Talk 13.12.2010 Åbo Akademi (Turku, Finland), Finland Bächtiger André;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Aus Wutbürgern werden Citoyens NZZ am Sonntag German-speaking Switzerland 2012
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Deliberation - Bürger politisieren auf hohem Niveau Swissinfo German-speaking Switzerland 2011
Media relations: print media, online media Deliberation in der direkten Demokratie: Ein deliberatives Feldexperiment zur Ausschaffungsinitiativ Italian-speaking Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland 2011
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Deliberation in Swiss direct democracy: A field experiment on the expulsion initiative Italian-speaking Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland International 2011
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Deliberative Reformen in der Schweiz German-speaking Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland 2010
Talks/events/exhibitions Podiumsdiskussion zur Ausschaffungsinitative und dem Gegenvorschlag German-speaking Switzerland 2010

Awards

Title Year
Credit Suisse Best Teacher Award 2012

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
152882 Deliberative Reforms in the Political System 01.08.2014 SNSF Professorships

Abstract

Deliberation has moved to the forefront in contemporary democratic theory. The main argument in the philosophical literature is that politics should not only be about power, reduced to counting votes or to bargaining among actors with fixed preferences. Rather, politics should be deliberative, infused with reason and arguments. The goal of my project is to explore the reform potential of our existing political systems for more deliberative action and to develop specific recommendations in this direction. I focus on the “analytic” and the “structural” dimensions of deliberative reforms. The “analytic” dimension of reform requires identifying the conditions of deliberation in the real world. In this regard, a major challenge is to develop a more unified approach to understanding deliberative processes and outcomes. For instance, getting the macro institutions right only creates the right background condition for deliberative action. Thus, for deliberation to be of more sizeable proportion as well as to be consequential in the political sphere, the right macro institutions must combine (or interact) with specific issues, group composition, specific types of parties, actor characteristics, deliberative dynamics and argumentative quality. This leads to a multilevel conceptualization of deliberative politics. A multilevel conceptualization assumes that deliberative capacities are embedded both in higher and lower level contexts, whereby higher level contexts can influence lower-level processes and outcomes. Put differently, higher level characteristics can offset (or amplify) individual level effects. My main hypothesis is that there are certain institutional constellations - especially coalition arrangements with low party discipline - which are favorable to more deliberative politics, while other constellations - government-opposition settings with strong party discipline - are generally not conducive to it. In order to make the latter more deliberative, institutional reforms are necessary. Translated into my hierarchical framework, this also means that in government-opposition settings with strong party discipline issue type, groups, partisan and actor characteristics, deliberative dynamics and argumentative quality tend to be overrun by the overall institutional logic. In coalition arrangements, however, these additional logics may have a strong effect and may help to overcome the institutional vices that these constellations entail. Empirically, I will engage both in experimental and observational research. The goal of experimental research is to provide a causal test of different factors at the micro-level, which is very difficult to achieve in comparative observational research. In concrete, the experiments will simulate the logics of the different institutional, issue, group and actors constellations Observational research will help to provide external validity to the experimental findings. In this regard, I will complement my large data bank on legislative debates in Switzerland, Germany, the United States and Great Britain. The “structural” dimension of deliberative reform implies “moving beyond the study of isolated or one-time deliberative experiences and examining the relationship between deliberative and non-deliberative practices in the political system as a whole and over time.” (Thompson 2008: 500) For deliberation in the political system this boils down to the question whether citizens would accept a more deliberative behavior of their elected representatives. Empirically, I will explore this question via focus groups consisting of different segments of the electorate in Switzerland and Great Britain. These focus groups will explore - based on experimental transcripts and excerpts of parliamentary debates - the desirability of highly deliberative ways of interaction and highly competitive ways of interaction in politics.
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