Journal Article

The downside of participatory-deliberative public administration

Lucio Baccaro and Konstantinos Papadakis

in Socio-Economic Review

Published on behalf of Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics

Volume 7, issue 2, pages 245-276
Published in print April 2009 | ISSN: 1475-1461
Published online January 2009 | e-ISSN: 1475-147X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwn030
The downside of participatory-deliberative public administration

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  • Moral Philosophy
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This article provides an empirically grounded critique of ‘Participatory-Deliberative Public Administration’, based on an in-depth study of three participatory fora in South Africa: the National Economic Development and Labour Council, the Child Labour Intersectoral Group and the South African National AIDS Council. Drawing freely on Habermas' Between Facts and Norms, the article argues that coordination through deliberation is unlikely to occur in formal settings, where discourses are mostly about the accommodation of existing interests, and is more likely to be found in the informal public sphere, where the preferences of citizens are still malleable and where it is possible for civil society groups to build communicative power by articulating moral arguments that motivate and mobilize the public. This form of power can then be used by civil society groups to counterbalance other forms of (non-communicative) power that impinge on the formal decision-making sphere.

Keywords: civil society; discourse; public administration; G38 corporate finance and governance; government policy and regulation

Journal Article.  13047 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy ; Corporate Social Responsibility ; Welfare Economics ; Political Economy ; Economic Sociology

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