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Javnost - The Public, Vol. 21 - 2014, No. 2

Confronting European Diversity: Deliberation in a Transnational and Pluri-Lingual Setting

, , , pages: 57 - 74

In this article, we confront some commonly held assumptions and objections with regard to the feasibility of deliberation in a transnational and pluri-lingual setting. To illustrate our argument, we rely on an analysis of group discussions from EuroPolis, a transnational deliberative experiment that took place one week ahead of the 2009 European Parliamentary elections. The European deliberative poll is an ideal case for testing the viability of deliberative democracy across political cultures because it introduces variation in terms of constituency and group plurality under the controlled conditions of quasi-experimental scientific setting. For measuring group dynamics and interactions we apply a modified version of the Discourse Quality Index (DQI) that is combined with a qualitative content analysis of selected sequences of discussions. Findings show that participants of transnational deliberative polling 1) generally recognise the EU polity as a reference point for exercising communicative power and impact on decision-making, and 2) are in fact able to interact and debate across languages and cultures, developing a self-awareness of citizens of a shared polity and thereby turning a heterogeneous group of randomly selected citizens into a constituency of democracy.

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