Accepted paper:

Enacting democracy in implementing transnational public engagement devices


Nina Amelung (University of Minho)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

This paper focuses on translation processes of 'enacting democracy' (Saward 2003) in the practices of transnational public engagement devices. A standardized design does not remain the same in diverse local cultural and epistemic contexts. The closer analysis of how democratic principles become enacted by inscribing democratic principles while designing a device and while implementing a design reveals the contextual local conditionality. This approach allows a closer perspective on the organizers, the 'epistemic community' of public participation professionals (Chilvers), who claim to hold the expertise on how to create forums that give voice to publics. This presentation will highlight how designs are translated and shaped in one of the few existing transnational citizen deliberation cases, the World Wide Views on biodiversity (WWVB), and how different sites of implementation, respectively the local constellations of epistemic networks of organizers shape the implementation of transnational deliberation. A comparative micro case study on the implementation of the WWVB design by the US network ECAST including organizations working in the areas of participatory technology assessment and science communication and by the German network under the lead of the Museum of Natural Science, Berlin, will be presented. It will be analyzed - according to organizers' cultural and epistemic contexts - which meanings of 'democracy' and 'citizens' become enacted when organizers make local sense of design features such as participant recruitment or agenda setting for the deliberation process. Empirical data includes expert interviews and participant observation undertaken during the preparation and coordination process among local organizers.

panel C1
Studying science communication