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Deliberative participation and personality: the effect of traits, situations, and motivation

  • Julia Jennstål (a1)

Inclusiveness is essential to deliberative democracy, but factors influencing citizens’ willingness to participate in deliberation need to be better understood. In the case of deliberative minipublics, demographic, and attitudinal attributes demonstrably correlate with willingness to participate, and thus arguably affect the inclusiveness of deliberative events. Similarly, features of deliberative situations also influence participation – whether it will be decisive, for example. However, what is lacking is a framework for how individual and situational characteristics interact, and the role of background political and cultural settings in influencing this dynamic. Advances in personality psychology offers a useful framework for addressing this lacuna, as well as providing tools for understanding how effective participation can be enhanced. In this article, I explore how personality interacts with situational features to influence patterns of deliberative participation, as well as the motivations that are associated. These effects are illustrated by drawing on data from a field experiment, involving minipublic deliberation in Sweden on the issue of begging by internal EU migrants. The findings support the relevance of personality as a predictor of participation in deliberation, which interacts with features of deliberative situations to induce particular motivations to either participate or refuse.

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European Political Science Review
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