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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Conceptions of deliberative or discursive democracy are applied increasingly also to global governance institutions, typically coupled with calls for more participation and civil society access. Critics argue, however, that global political institutions cannot accommodate meaningful practices of deliberation and participation. In this chapter I review the current state of this controversy. I first disentangle several promises of deliberation in global governance and distinguish micro and macro conceptions of deliberation. I then scrutinize deliberative practices as they currently exist in intergovernmental negotiation and multi-stakeholder networks. A number of problems seem to compromise the democratizing potential of these practices: enduring asymmetries in power and status; high levels of expertise as precondition for participation; disconnect between micro-settings of deliberation and macro-level debates. I conclude that existing forms of global deliberation may increase the epistemic quality of decisions made for the people but should not be interpreted as democratic self-governance by the people.

Keywords: global governance, deliberation, participation, democracy, intergovernmentalism, multi-stakeholder networks, expertise

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