What is "Deliberative Democracy"?


Deliberative democracy involves citizens coming together in grassroots forums to discuss, debate and deliberate on specific policy issues and frameworks.

These forums may include citizen panels, juries, focus groups or consensus committees.

These deliberation processes allow citizens to better understand the nuances and complexities of a particular policy issue or set of policies.

This provides the basis for considered citizen feedback to elected representatives in ways that inform and sharpen decisions made by these representatives. The processes of deliberation are also seen to foster greater public consensus around policy and political decision-making.

In essence, deliberative democracy represents a more direct and continuous means of allowing citizen input into policy and political decision-making.

This contrasts with traditional liberal democracy where deliberation is seen primarily the responsibility of elected representatives and assemblies with voters having their say on who should represent them and make policy and political decisions on their behalf every three, four or five years through mass elections.


Thumbnail image: Marc Wathieu/Flickr