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Meeting great expectations through democratic innovations? Studying the effect of citizen involvement on democratic legitimacy

Sofie Marien, University of Amsterdam / University of Leuven

Tue 14 March 2017

11:00am - 12:00pm

The Dryzek Room, Building 22, University of Canberra


As a result of rising expectations, democratic political systems are confronted with a citizenry that fiercely questions the democratic legitimacy of their political system. Widespread distrust in political actors and institutions and the increasing popularity of populist and anti-establishment candidates and parties are just a few of the indications of this societal challenge. Interestingly, this discontent is by no means paralleled by eroding support for democratic principles as this support is stronger than ever before. Therefore, this discontent has frequently been interpreted as a demand for democratic innovations. In particular, the involvement of citizens in political decision-making processes through deliberative processes is often proposed as a potential solution to meet citizens’ expectations and to address this democratic legitimacy deficit. In this talk I will focus on a recent study that investigates the potential of citizen involvement in political decision-making processes through a deliberative democratic instrument to foster losers’ consent with unfavourable political decisions.

About the speaker

Sofie Marien is an Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Leuven. She has a B.S. in Political Science and a P.h.D. in Social Sciences from the University of Leuven (Belgium). She was a visiting scholar at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania in the Spring of 2016 and 2017. She is president of the Belgian Political Science Association VPW. Her substantive research interests include political trust, political engagement, deliberative democracy and political communication with a regional focus on Europe. To investigate these topics, she draws on cross-national surveys, panel surveys and experimental methods. Her studies appeared in journals such as Political Research Quarterly and European Journal of Political Research.

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