Paper published in Sustainability on the first Participatory Value Evaluation by Anatol Itten and Niek Mouter
A paper has been published on PVE in Sustainability called "When Digital Mass Participation Meets Citizen Deliberation: Combining Mini- and Maxi-Publics in Climate Policy-Making" written by Anatol Itten and Niek Mouter.
The upcoming vogue of climate assemblies and other forms of mini-publics are to give citizens a central role in climate policy-making and to break the political impasse. Yet climate mini-publics face challenges in political environments too, such as co-option, favoring expert opinions, and losing touch with the broader public. To remedy such pitfalls, recent papers have argued to combine synchronous deliberations of small groups of citizens with online participation procedures for the larger public. In this article, we report the results of a three-step combination model, where first a mini-public in the region of Súdwest-Fryslân (NL) was given a “carte blanche” to draft the content and the parameters of several related policy alternatives. Second, their proposals were fed into a digital participation tool to consult the wider public. Third, a citizens forum translated the outcomes of the maxi-public into policy recommendations, which were unanimously approved by the municipal council.
The study found that a combination of mass participation and deliberative mini-publics was effective in generating public debate and momentum for policy change. The mini-publics allowed citizens to learn from each other, form reasoned opinions, and evaluate positions, thereby reducing the pitfalls of the individualistic approaches to preference formation.