T17aP10 - Democratising Health and Social Policy Making

Topic : Sectorial Policy - Health

Panel Chair : Margaret kelaher - mkelaher@unimelb.edu.au

Panel Second Chair : Daniel Weinstock - Daniel.weinstock2@mcgill.ca

Panel Third Chair : Volker Amelung - amelung.volker@mh-hannover.de

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

The four pillars of deliberation – legitimacy, representation, communication and consensus – serve to build trust, create social capital and create greater civic engagement which increase public confidence in government and governance processes (Dryzek 2012, Weymouth 2015). Since the 1990s, the so-called “deliberative turn” has not only altered democratic theory (Habermas and Rawls), but significantly changed the way people think about and conduct public policy. Underpinning ideas of deliberation is that ultimately a democratic consensus will prevail, through reasoned and informed processes of informed debate. Deliberation is thus thought to provide the most justifiable conception for dealing with moral disagreement in politics and policy, thus serving four main goals:

  1. to promote the legitimacy of collective decisions;
  2. to encourage public-spirited perspectives on public issues;
  3. to promote mutually respectful processes of decision-making; and
  4. to provide an opportunity for advancing both individual and collective understanding and mitigate information asymmetries and disagreement (Gutmann 2004).

As such, deliberative methods are of increasing interest to both researchers and policymakers. The aim of this panel is understand how an increased focus on democratisation is impacting on the processes, outcomes and quality of health and social policy making.  It will further explore how this impacts on the study of health and social policy. 


Call for papers

This panel seeks to provide a platform for the critical analysis of the role of deliberation in health and social policy-making and papers are invited on this theme. Consistent with the multidisciplinary nature of the concept of deliberative democracy, contributions may come from a broad range of perspectives, including (but not restricted to) health policy, philosophy, political science/theory and sociology. The panel will explore both the theory and the practice of implementing deliberative democratic strategies in health and social policy. We are also interested in how policy-makers – in government and elsewhere – implement deliberatively democratic agendas and the benefits and challenges of executing health and social policy with this goal in mind. Evaluative efforts that interrogate the use of deliberation in public policy are especially welcome.

Moreover, this panel invites papers offering critical appraisals of health and social policy initiatives that enact and reinforce the four pillars of deliberative democracy: legitimacy, representation, communication and consensus. The papers can focus on the approach to policy making,  policies to promote deliberation or the approach to understanding policies and their impacts.   In particular, it seeks papers exploring health and social policy initiatives that involve deliberative processes, public performance reporting, community participation, use social media and other deliberatively inspired endeavours that have the potential to democratise policy making.

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