Citizens’ Voices – Experiments in Democratic Renewal and Reform

May 2012

Edited by: Gemma M. Carney & Clodagh Harris

Deliberative and participatory democracy specialist group of the Political Studies Association of Ireland.

The ‘Beyond the Ballot’ symposium, held in Dublin in March 2012, was a public, academic and civic event which questioned, criticised, investigated and celebrated the status of democracy. This book, which publishes short versions of the papers presented on the day, is kindly supported by a ‘New Ideas’ grant from the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences and by the PSAI.

The first three papers are all about experiments in participatory and deliberative democracy.

Professor Jurg Steiner’s paper sets out the praxis of deliberation, establishing why democratic deliberation is not just an academic exercise. Learning to deliberate is at the essence of what makes us human. Next, Professor Peter Vermeersch explores a Belgian citizens’ experiment, the G1000, born out of a frustration with representative democracy’s failure to form a workable agreement.

Finally, ‘We the Citizens’ demonstrates how deliberation can work in an Irish context. In chapters four and five, the paper turns to the activist’s perspective – looking at civil society organisations, the use and usefulness of participatory research and the idea of civic engagement.

Full Research Paper

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