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What does it take to make online deliberation happen?: A comparative analysis of 28 online discussion forums
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Örebro School of Public Affairs)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5485-8577
2011 (English)In: From e-Participation to Online Deliberation: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Online Deliberation / [ed] De Cindio F., Macintosh A., & Peraboni C., Leeds: University of Leeds , 2011, 1, 142-156 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This chapter investigates determinants of online deliberation by way of a comparative study of 28 online forums initiated by the EU-commission as a part on the 2009 European Citizens Consultations.  The cases analyzed in this paper share the same design (technological, as well as process), have the same connection to the policy process, were moderated in the same way, and implemented simultaneously. Still, great divergences are apparent in the level of deliberation occurring on the forums. Some of the forum discussions between participants were scarce and voting was the dominating form of participation, while on other forums discussion was much more intense. The empirical analysis is conducted through a hypothetic deductive approach investigating four hypotheses about determinants of online deliberation grounded in prior studies and deliberative democratic theory. The analysis investigates the effects on the level of deliberation of: the number of participants, the diversity of opinion, the occurrence of a aggregative dynamic as well as the level of engagement among participants. The results of the analysis indicate that diversity of opinion on the forum and a high level of engagement among participants seem to have reinforcing effects on online deliberation while the number of participants and the aggregative dynamic on the forums seem unrelated to the level of deliberation. These results paint a picture of online deliberation as a more robust form of political participation than earlier studies have claimed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Leeds: University of Leeds , 2011, 1. 142-156 p.
Keyword [en]
Online deliberation, mobilization, EU, Opinion diversity
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies) Social Sciences
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-14788ISBN: 0-96678-186-4 (print)OAI: diva2:401798
European Citizens Consultations
Available from: 2011-03-04 Created: 2011-03-04 Last updated: 2014-10-28Bibliographically approved

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