Participatory Democracy and Deliberative Model of Public Policy Making
Friday, 27 March, 2015

On Thursday, March 26th, Dr. Nani Macharashvili, from TSU delivered a lecture in which she touched on the importance of the deliberative model of public policymaking.

In the first part of the presentation, she defined conventional and unconventional participation models. As she said ‘Conventional’ participation concerns institutionalized modes of political action, such as reading about politics, discussion of politics, contacting officials, working for a party, and other activities concerning the electoral process. On the other hand, ‘unconventional’ forms of political behavior refers to a means of political redress, namely the use of tactics such as petitions, demonstrations, boycotts, rent or tax strikes, unofficial industrial strikes, occupations of buildings, blocking of traffic, damage to property, and personal violence”. 

Deliberative Democracy

Dr. Nani also underlined the importance of public involvement in policymaking and the benefits it has for the whole society. She said that governments rarely have sufficient means to solve all the problems in a certain area; therefore local people can bring the best source of knowledge and wisdom about their surroundings. “The process of working together and achieving results also creates a sense of community, which is much needed in Georgia. In addition, involving the public in decision-making leads to more appropriate results and sustainable development. The top-down model has the opposite results,” she added.

High Touch or High Tech?

In the second part of her talk, she emphasized the importance of face-to-face communication instead of basing decisions on i.e. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or computer-mediated dialogue. She brought an example of transportation modeling in the city, infrastructure projects, and more. As she said citizen engagement is very well practiced in Brazil. “One example can be the participatory budgeting, in which at least 50 000 people participate regularly and as a result, the country saw an increase from 75 to 99% of homes having running water and the number of public schools almost tripling.

The presentation concluded with questions from the audience and lively discussion. 

Click here to download the presentation