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date: 13 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the relationship between deliberative democracy and governance networks, defined as policy partnerships of interdependent actors from public, private, and societal sectors. While many networks are built and operate around core deliberative democratic norms, such as trust, reciprocity, and loyalty, they can threaten others such as openness, publicity, democratic legitimacy, and accountability. The chapter considers the roles and risks that governance networks offer for public deliberation understood in broader systemic terms. It argues that networks play a number of important systemic functions: they generate ideas, inform deliberation, and provide opportunities for discursive connectivity. But empirical research reveals that networks can also pose pathologies for deliberative systems; they can be elite, exclusive, and dominated by special interests. A number of practical strategies are offered for how deliberative systems can boost the deliberative and democratic credentials of governance networks.

Keywords: networks, governance networks, interest groups, stakeholders, deliberative system

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