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Why and how to compare deliberative systems

Why and how to compare deliberative systems
Why and how to compare deliberative systems
The systemic turn in deliberative democratic theory presents empirical researchers in this field with a problem. Deliberative systems are complex, porous, and shifting in nature. These features cannot be adequately assessed by existing tools for measuring deliberative and democratic qualities. Such qualities only become apparent when set against practices in other systems. Meaningful analysis rests on comparison. However, in turning to the comparative politics literature for inspiration, we caution that the two dominant traditions in this subfield—rigidly systematic comparison or thickly descriptive area studies—are of only limited utility. On the one hand, rigid comparative analysis will map uncomfortably on the systemic account. On the other, there is a need to move beyond idiographic accounts produced in thick descriptions. Instead, we emphasise the value of two alternative traditions in comparative political analysis. The first is through the use of ‘family resemblances’ in comparative research design. The second is through post hoc comparisons which draw together eclectic affinities between systems. Both approaches are sensitive to the contextual complexities of deliberative systems in practice. Both can tell us a great deal about why and how deliberative practices and institutions emerge, flourish, or fail, and how they enable, enhance or undermine the democratic and deliberative qualities of the system overall. We draw on promising examples of these two approaches to emphasise their value in understanding deliberative systems in practice.
Deliberative systems; comparative political science; Lijphart; Anderson; area studies; family resemblance; eclectic affinities
0304-4130
801-819
Boswell, John
34bad0df-3d4d-40ce-948f-65871e3d783c
Corbett, Jack
ad651655-ac70-4072-a36f-92165e296ce2
Boswell, John
34bad0df-3d4d-40ce-948f-65871e3d783c
Corbett, Jack
ad651655-ac70-4072-a36f-92165e296ce2

Boswell, John and Corbett, Jack (2017) Why and how to compare deliberative systems. European Journal of Political Research, 56 (4), 801-819. (doi:10.1111/1475-6765.12205).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The systemic turn in deliberative democratic theory presents empirical researchers in this field with a problem. Deliberative systems are complex, porous, and shifting in nature. These features cannot be adequately assessed by existing tools for measuring deliberative and democratic qualities. Such qualities only become apparent when set against practices in other systems. Meaningful analysis rests on comparison. However, in turning to the comparative politics literature for inspiration, we caution that the two dominant traditions in this subfield—rigidly systematic comparison or thickly descriptive area studies—are of only limited utility. On the one hand, rigid comparative analysis will map uncomfortably on the systemic account. On the other, there is a need to move beyond idiographic accounts produced in thick descriptions. Instead, we emphasise the value of two alternative traditions in comparative political analysis. The first is through the use of ‘family resemblances’ in comparative research design. The second is through post hoc comparisons which draw together eclectic affinities between systems. Both approaches are sensitive to the contextual complexities of deliberative systems in practice. Both can tell us a great deal about why and how deliberative practices and institutions emerge, flourish, or fail, and how they enable, enhance or undermine the democratic and deliberative qualities of the system overall. We draw on promising examples of these two approaches to emphasise their value in understanding deliberative systems in practice.

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Why_and_how_to_compare_deliberative_systems_EJPR - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 10 February 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 15 March 2017
Published date: November 2017
Keywords: Deliberative systems; comparative political science; Lijphart; Anderson; area studies; family resemblance; eclectic affinities
Organisations: Politics & International Relations

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 406451
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/406451
ISSN: 0304-4130
PURE UUID: b4026b96-d4be-42d7-9613-7d5b6bb43d0d
ORCID for Jack Corbett: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2005-7162

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Date deposited: 10 Mar 2017 10:47
Last modified: 16 Jul 2019 05:20

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