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Deliberation and Democracy: Innovative Processes and Institutions


Edited By Stephen Coleman, Anna Przybylska and Yves Sintomer

As our experience regarding the practice of deliberation grows, the position from which we evaluate it, and the criteria of this evaluation, change. This book presents a synthesis of recent research that has brought detailed and robust results. Its first section concerns contemporary challenges and new approaches to the public sphere. The second focuses on the Deliberative Poll as a specific deliberative technique and compares findings emanating from this practice in various political and cultural contexts. The third section addresses the challenge of determining what constitutes deliberative quality. Finally, the last section discusses democratic deliberation and deliberative democracy as they relate to the complex challenges of contemporary politics.
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André Bächtiger & Jürg Steiner - Chapter Nine. How to Measure the Quality of Deliberation? The Discourse Quality Index (DQI) as a Possible Tool


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André Bächtiger & Jürg Steiner

Chapter Nine. How to Measure the Quality of Deliberation? The Discourse Quality Index (DQI) as a Possible Tool


In everyday language, deliberation is often used as a synonym for any kind of political talk. In the scholarly literature, the concept of deliberation has a more specific meaning. There are several elements to the concept. First, arguments must be justified with reasons that may also be supported by appropriate stories. Second, arguments must be framed in terms of the common good, which does not exclude that self-interests come into play, if they are shown to be compatible with the common good. Third, arguments of others must be treated with respect. Fourth, actors must be willing to yield to the force of the better argument. Fifth, all actors must have the opportunity to speak up in a free and unconstrained way. While in principle these five deliberative elements can be measured in an empirical way, a sixth element is hard if not impossible to measure, namely the truthfulness with which arguments are articulated (Steiner 2011).

How do we get an empirical handle at the five deliberative elements that in principle can be measured? One often used research strategy is to assemble groups of citizens and to encourage them to behave in a deliberative way. One encouragement is to procure participants with briefing material on the issues to be discussed. Another encouragement is to...

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