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date: 17 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The debate surrounding mini-publics has focused on top-down assessments about their use in the wider democratic system. This chapter inverts that analysis to explore how observation of mini-public deliberation informs possibilities for scaling up their deliberative effects—as opposed to their decisions. The effect involves in good part reversing the influences of strategic and manipulatory political discourse via discourse regulation and the activation of norms consistent with consistent with the “deliberative stance”. Scaling up the deliberativeness involves a form of mini-public trust, with a focus on the regulation of discourses by trusted peers, and deliberating citizens acting as exemplars of deliberative behaviour. To the extent that both practice and institutionalization exceed certain conditions there is scope for mini-publics to become engines for deliberative democratization.

Keywords: mini-publics, scaling up deliberation, discourse regulation, deliberative transformation

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