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Empirical assessment of the impacts of deliberative democracy processes

A Wendy Russell

Tue 9 February 2016

11:00am - 12:00pm

The Dryzek Room, Building 22, University of Canberra


A key standard for judging the quality of deliberative processes is impact on political decision-making. Yet impact is a multi-faceted and contested concept, in theory and practice. Macro-political impacts are often indirect and deliberative processes compete with a range of other inputs and factors for influence. The assessment of impacts is complicated by the difficulty of distinguishing measurable impacts from important impacts. As well as the impacts of particular processes, the research is interested in the ‘uptake’ of deliberative democracy generally, and how impact and uptake interact.

This seminar relates to a research project, funded by the New Democracy Foundation (nDF), on the impacts of deliberative processes, particularly nDF processes. I will present a preliminary framework for assessing the impacts of deliberative processes, with a focus on macro-political impacts, which will be used in the empirical phase of the research. Input at this stage will be very gratefully accepted.

About the speaker

Wendy Russell is director of Double Arrow Consulting, a Canberra business specialising in deliberative engagement, and an associate of the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance. She is also affiliated with the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at ANU, and is ACT regional coordinator for the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2). She previously worked in the National Enabling Technologies Strategy – Public Awareness and Community Engagement program of the Commonwealth Department of Industry & Innovation, where she managed the Science & Technology Engagement Pathways (STEP) community engagement program. Before this, she was senior lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Wollongong, where she researched social aspects of biotechnology, transdisciplinary inquiry, and technology assessment.

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