Title: Technology and the quality of public deliberation: a comparison between on and offline participation

Authors: Laurence Monnoyer-Smith; Stéphanie Wojcik

Addresses: Département TSH – Centre Pierre Guillaumat, Université de Technologie de Compiègne, BP 60319, Rue du Docteur Schweitzer, 60203 Compiègne Cedex, France. ' Département de communication politique et publique, Université Paris Est Créteil, 80, avenue du Général de Gaulle, 94009 Créteil, France

Abstract: The empirical turn in deliberative democracy has recently generated a considerable amount of academic work. Scholars have tried to operationalise the theoretical dimensions of deliberative democracy into robust criteria in order to evaluate the quality of public discussion. Few of them however have systematically compared online and offline deliberation to analyse the link between the technological formats deployed in a deliberative procedure and the quality of the discussion. This is what this paper aims to do through a French case study of a national public debate. Drawing from a revised version of the Discourse Quality Index, we will theoretically discuss and propose a coding scheme for quality analysis which rests on an enlarged definition of deliberation. Our results suggest a dynamic appropriation of the various settings, each presenting features in which actors strategically position themselves.

Keywords: online deliberation; offline deliberation; face-to-face deliberation; technology; coding; DQI; Discourse Quality Index; quality of deliberation; evaluation; e-governance; electronic governance; public debate; waste treatment facilities; deliberative democracy; e-democracy; electronic democracy; public discussion; France.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEG.2012.047443

International Journal of Electronic Governance, 2012 Vol.5 No.1, pp.24 - 49

Received: 16 Aug 2011
Accepted: 08 Mar 2012

Published online: 21 Jun 2012 *

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