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Deliberation under conditions of language pluralism. Insight from the Europolis Deliberative Polling Experiment

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  • Irena Fiket, Espen D. H. Olsen, Hans-Jörg Trenz

Abstract

In this paper, we confront some commonly held assumptions and objections with regard to the feasibility of deliberation in a transnational and plurilingual setting. To illustrate our argument, we rely on a solid set of both quantitative and qualitative data from Europolis, a transnational deliberative experiment that took place one week ahead of the 2009 European Parliamentary elections. The European deliberative poll is an ideal case for testing the viability of deliberative democracy across political cultures because it introduces variation in terms of constituency and group plurality under the controlled conditions of a scientific experiment. On the basis of our measurement of both participants’ self-perceptions and changes of opinions through questionnaires and of group dynamics and interactions through qualitative coding of group discussions we can identify the following patterns: 1) The EU polity is generally recognised and taken as a reference point by participants for exercising communicative power and impact on decisionmaking, 2) the Europolis experiment proves that participants are in fact able to interact and debate across languages and cultures, developing a selfawareness of citizens of a shared polity and thereby turning a heterogeneous group of randomly selected group into a constituency of democracy.

Suggested Citation

  • Irena Fiket, Espen D. H. Olsen, Hans-Jörg Trenz, 2011. "Deliberation under conditions of language pluralism. Insight from the Europolis Deliberative Polling Experiment," ARENA Working Papers p0334, ARENA.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:arenax:p0334
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    Keywords

    democracy; political science;

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