T02P09 - Collaborative Governance and Deliberative Policymaking in Comparative Perspective

Topic : Comparative Public Policy

Panel Chair : Christopher Ansell - cansell@berkeley.edu

Panel Second Chair : PerOla Öberg - perola.oberg@statsvet.uu.se

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

Collaborative and deliberative approaches to policymaking have received increasing attention over the last decade. Collaborative approaches seek to bring stakeholders together to develop consensus-oriented policy designs through face-to-face interaction and negotiation. Deliberative approaches focus on the policy making process as a form of reasoned discussion aimed at producing well-informed opinions. Both approaches stress the importance of a communicative rationality, without necessarily assuming that communication takes place in ideal situations. While a first generation of scholarship has demonstrated how both collaborative and deliberative approaches operate in democratic settings, we still lack a well-developed understanding of the contextual conditions in which these approaches are likely to flourish or wilt. This contextual knowledge is critical, because there is a tendency to see collaborative or deliberative approaches as universal in their applications.  However, some national contexts are much more likely to facilitate collaboration and deliberation than others. The purpose of this panel is to explore how different national (or local or regional) institutions, policy styles, or political dynamics foster or constrain collaborative and deliberative approaches to policymaking.

 

We propose a number of preliminary hypotheses to guide our comparative investigation of collaborative and deliberative approaches.    First, we anticipate that collaborative and deliberative approaches are more likely to work well in nations or communities with active civil societies and with pluralistic political cultures. These approaches are unlikely to either arise or be successful in statist cultures with weak civil society and more elite or clientelist forms of politics. An exception to this claim is when the state uses these mechanisms instrumentally to mobilize legitimacy or public input. Second, we expect these approaches to be more prominent in nations where consensus democracy and corporatist bargaining are well-developed and where citizens have high trust in government institutions.   These conditions can create supportive cultural norms for collaboration and deliberation, while also creating conditions where state institutions are open to public input. Majoritarian and adversarial democracies are less likely to foster supportive conditions for collaboration and deliberation, though adversarial policymaking may foster collaborative governance as an antidote to political stagnation. A final expectation relates to the vertical dimension of politics. Federalist countries are more likely to be pluricentric and hence more likely to create conditions of shared and distributed power. These conditions create incentives for collaboration and deliberation.   However, unitary states with strong decentralization may create analogous conditions.

 

Our panel would select panelists based on their ability to shed light on the comparative conditions for collaborative and deliberation.   While papers would not have to be explicitly comparative, the panel as a whole should be able to generate an empirically-grounded discussion of how different national context create the demand for or the success of collaborative and deliberative approaches to policymaking.

Call for papers

Collaborative and deliberative approaches to policymaking have received increasing attention over the last decade. Collaborative approaches seek to bring stakeholders together to develop consensus-oriented policy designs through face-to-face interaction and negotiation.   Deliberative approaches focus on the policy making process as a form of reasoned discussion aimed at producing well-informed opinions.   Both approaches stress the importance of a communicative rationality, without necessarily assuming ideas that communication takes place in ideal situations. While a first generation of scholarship has demonstrated how both collaborative and deliberative approaches operate in democratic settings, we still lack a well-developed understanding of the contextual conditions in which these approaches are likely to flourish or wilt. This contextual knowledge is critical, because there is a tendency to see collaborative or deliberative approaches as universal in their applications.  However, some national contexts are much more likely to facilitate the collaboration and deliberation than others.   The purpose of this panel is to explore how different national (or local or regional) institutions, policy styles, or political dynamics foster or constrain collaborative and deliberative approaches to policymaking.  We invite panel submissions that help to understand these comparative factors.  Papers do not have to be explicitly comparative in design, but they should help the panel engage in an empirically-grounded discussion of these factors.

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