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Public Sphere Deliberation (PSD) Index: Analyzing public deliberation through aggregated data

Esha Madhavan, University of Sydney

Tue 18 April 2017

11:00am - 12:00pm

The Dryzek Room, Building 22, University of Canberra


The Public Sphere Deliberation (PSD) Index analyses speech text through content analysis and delivers aggregated scores useful for evaluating discussions in forums formed for citizen deliberation. The PSD Index approaches public deliberation through the application of the public sphere concept. A framework of normative conditions or criteria of public sphere has been developed through reviewing the works of some notable public sphere deliberation theorists and this was used to arrive at the two main components of the model. Each of these components consists of 21 and 14 indicators. The final score for each forum is derived through weighted additive aggregation standardized to 100-points scale. PSDI‘s strength lies in the design of the comprehensive instrument for content analysis (the indicator questions), yielding a highly replicable design. A multilevel analysis model has also been designed in order to adequately elaborate and engage the outcome of the research methods with the underlying theory. The PSD Index has been applied to measure the democratic potential of public sphere deliberation of forums formed for citizen deliberation during an important law making event in India called the ‘The Lokpal (Ombudsman)Bill’ as part of the ‘India against corruption’ movement during 2011. PSD Index could be the tool to evaluate the processes of deliberative democracy in terms of (i) maintaining of democratic safeguards during deliberative projects, (ii) enhancing the efficiency of the deliberative process along with validating its transparency and legitimacy values and (iii) the extent to which a process of deliberative decision making has been inclusive and decentralized.

About the speaker

Esha Madhavan investigates the public sphere potential of Internet in the context of India’s democratic politics. As a visiting fellow at the Sydney Democracy Network, University of Sydney, she is conducting research that focuses on the growing significance of citizen deliberation with shifting attention towards self-governance and civic problem solving, scrutiny of arbitrary power beyond the scope of elections, and institutional innovations within monitory democracy.

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