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Parliament and Public Engagement: two sides of the same coin?. Cristina Leston-Bandeira (ESRC – RES-000-22-4072) ECPRD, Parliaments on the net IX, May 2011. Contents. Discourse of political disengagement The endless pursuit of trust The paradoxes of parliament

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parliament and public engagement two sides of the same coin

Parliament and Public Engagement: two sides of the same coin?

Cristina Leston-Bandeira

(ESRC – RES-000-22-4072)

ECPRD, Parliaments on the net IX, May 2011

contents
Contents
  • Discourse of political disengagement
  • The endless pursuit of trust
  • The paradoxes of parliament
  • Marrying Participatory with Representative Democracy
context of discourse on political disengagement
Context of discourse on political disengagement
  • Decline vote turnout
  • Decline in trust
  • Political discourse of vote apathy
  • But...
  • Still, huge area of focus
  • New media: first a panacea, then a must
impact of internet on parliaments
Impact of internet on parliaments
  • Internet: opening up
  • But many challenges also
  • One of the most exposed political institutions
  • Questioning of legitimacy
  • Parliament has come to symbolise political disengagement
a unique institution
A unique institution

Representative institution

not about participatory democracy

  • Collective
  • Visible
  • Accountable
  • No single institutional voice
  • Differing (opposing) agendas
  • Multiplicity of audiences
  • Temporary leaderships (vs permanent staff)
some of the challenges in adopting new media
Some of the challenges in adopting new media
  • Slow processes
  • Difficult combination with technology
  • An a-political political institution
  • Challenge of a single corporate image and voice
  • Personification of competing actors
developing the paradox
Developing the paradox
  • How to make the most of new media tools in the context of non-personal, non-immediate and ultimately a-political spaces such as parliaments?
  • How to support the political voice of parliament?
  • How to engage with the public in this context?
developing public engagement
Developing Public Engagement
  • Huge demand for online opening up
  • Large investments on public engagement - namely through new media tools
  • Development of communication/information services
  • Great focus on citizen input
  • Great focus on participatory democracy tools
the perverse effects of public engagement
The perverse effects of Public Engagement
  • Activities mainly a-political, a-personal, a-individual
  • Public engagement becoming a product in itself
  • Contradictory pursuit of participatory democracy
  • Undermining of representative and political role of institution
summing up two sides of same coin
Summing up - two sides of same coin?
  • Endless pursuit of trust not entirely helpful
  • Fine balance between:
    • Impartiality and Political
    • Accessibility and Representing
    • Public Engagement and The Business
  • Looking for:
    • Integration of political meaning
    • Acceptance of Representative remit
thank you

Thank you

Photos from respective parliaments’ websites or iStockphoto.com

C.C.Leston-Bandeira@hull.ac.uk

www2.hull.ac.uk/fass/managing-parliaments-image.aspx

slide14
But...
  • Decline turnout not that significant (Franklin, Rose)
  • Trust varies according to external variables (Dalton et al)
  • Huge increase of participatory democracy
  • Development of Critical Citizens(Norris)
summing up two sides of same coin1
Summing up - two sides of same coin?
  • Endless pursuit of trust not entirely helpful
  • Fine balance between:
    • Impartiality and Political
    • Accessibility and Representing
    • Public Engagement and The Business
  • Looking for:
    • Integration of political meaning
    • Acceptance of Representative remit