Citizens at the centre

Celia Davies

Published by Policy Press

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9781861348029
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301851 | DOI:
Citizens at the centre

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Involving citizens in policy-decision-making processes – deliberative democracy – has been a central goal of the Labour government since it came to power in 1997. But what happens when members of the public are drawn into unfamiliar debate, with unfamiliar others, in the unfamiliar world of policy making at national level? This book sets out to understand the contribution that citizens can realistically be expected to make. Drawing on the lessons from an ethnographic study of a public-involvement initiative in the health service – the Citizens Council of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) – it explores the practical realities behind the much-quoted faith in ‘deliberation’ that underpins so many models of public involvement and presents the analysis of 64 hours of video and audiotape capturing a warts-and-all picture of deliberation in action. The book sets deliberative participatory initiatives within a broad inter-disciplinary context and challenges politicians, policy makers, and academics to develop more realistic approaches to democratic innovation.

Keywords: deliberative democracy; Labour government; policy making; Citizens Council; ethnographic study; public involvement; health service; NICE; deliberation; participatory initiatives

Book.  304 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Citizens at the centre


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