Does Deliberation Make Better Citizens?

Heather Pincock

in Democracy in Motion

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199899265
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980147 | DOI:
Does Deliberation Make Better Citizens?

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This chapter surveys the field of normative and empirical scholarship concerning the educative effects of deliberative civic engagement. The claim that deliberative participation will improve citizens' civic capacities (i.e., make them “better citizens”) is a widely present normative justification for participatory deliberative processes that merits empirical verification. A review of existing empirical research aiming to test this claim reveals mixed findings, and more importantly, limitations in the way educative effects are conceptualized and in the empirical contexts where they have been studied. The chapter concludes by suggesting that future research should begin with an articulation of educative effects that is more deeply rooted in normative theories of deliberation and proceed with more careful attention to the variation in process design features across different deliberative venues.

Keywords: deliberation; civic engagement; citizenship; citizens; education; transformation; educative effects; civic education; participatory democracy; deliberative democracy

Chapter.  12496 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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