New Publication by Franziska Maier & André Bächtiger: Reflecting on the boundaries of the demos

26. Oktober 2023 / Sowi II

A virtual deliberative experiment with German citizens

This article combines the fields of deliberative theory and citizenship studies. Drawing from a deliberative experiment on foreigner political rights with almost 300 German citizens, we find that a short virtual deliberative treatment produced a clarification effect, whereby especially those with already negative views increased their scepticism. Participants in our deliberative treatment displayed higher levels of argument repertoire and integrative complexity, underlining that the treatment led to well-considered opinions. A qualitative analysis of participants’ substantive rationales unravels traces of what De Schutter and Ypi dub ‘mandatory citizenship’, implying that political rights must be attached to obligations. These results have wide ranging implications: They indicate that the practice of deliberation is not quasi-automatically programmed to progressive outcomes (as some have argued) but can have a communitarian dimension (where preferences are determined on the basis of existing communal values and self-understandings); this suggests that participatory practices may not always advance progressive reforms.

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