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A Greener Alternative? Deliberative Democracy Meets Local Government


Zwart, IC, A Greener Alternative? Deliberative Democracy Meets Local Government, Environmental Politics, 12, (2) pp. 23-48. ISSN 0964-4016 (2003) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1080/09644010412331308174


There is a view among some deliberative democrats that creating decision-making structures that approximate the deliberative ideal will lead to decisions that favour the life-supporting capacities of our natural environment. In their view, deliberative arrangements should be beneficial for environmental decision-making through their favouring of general rather than specific interests, and a subsequent ability to improve the legitimacy of the decisions that result. This article challenges such views, by analysing the outcomes of an Australian local government's use of public deliberation to inform its review of waste management. The article argues that the participatory mechanism used in the case may be broadly understood as deliberative in its nature. Nevertheless, an analysis of its outcomes reveals that deliberative democrats wishing for environmentally beneficial decisions may be overly optimistic regarding the outcomes that result. This is due primarily to the subjective nature of generalisable interests, and differing perceptions regarding the legitimacy of the decisions that are reached. Thus the claim that deliberative arrangements will lead to both ecologically rational and legitimate collective outcomes is questioned.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Policy and administration
Research Field:Public policy
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Government and politics not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Zwart, IC (Mr Ivan Zwart)
ID Code:28796
Year Published:2003
Web of Science® Times Cited:16
Deposited By:Government
Deposited On:2003-08-01
Last Modified:2004-05-10

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