Evaluation Guidelines for Representative Deliberative Processes


OECD Report: “Evaluations of representative deliberative processes do not happen regularly, not least due to the lack of specific guidance for their evaluation. To respond to this need, together with an expert advisory group, the OECD has developed Evaluation Guidelines for Representative Deliberative Processes. They aim to encourage public authorities, organisers, and evaluators to conduct more comprehensive, objective, and comparable evaluations.

These evaluation guidelines establish minimum standards and criteria for the evaluation of representative deliberative processes as a foundation on which more comprehensive evaluations can be built by adding additional criteria according to specific contexts and needs.

The guidelines suggest that independent evaluations are the most comprehensive and reliable way of evaluating a deliberative process.

For smaller and shorter deliberative processes, evaluation in the form of self-reporting by members and/or organisers of a deliberative process can also contribute to the learning process…(More)”.

The Global State of Democracy Report 2021


IDEA Report: “The world is becoming more authoritarian as non-democratic regimes become even more brazen in their repression and many  democratic governments suffer from backsliding by adopting their tactics of restricting free speech and weakening the rule of law, exacerbated by what threatens to become a “new normal” of Covid-19 restrictions. For the fifth consecutive year, the number of countries moving in an authoritarian direction exceeds the number of countries moving in a democratic direction. In fact, the number moving in the direction of authoritarianism is three times the number moving towards democracy. …

Yet, democracy is resilient.

Protest and civic action are alive and well.  Pro-democracy movements have braved repression around the world, and global social movements for tackling climate change and fighting racial inequalities have emerged. In spite of restrictions, more than three-quarters of countries have experienced protests during the pandemic.  

Many democracies have proved resilient to the pandemic, introducing or expanding democratic innovations and adapting their practices and institutions in record time. Countries around the world rapidly activated Special Voting Arrangements to allow citizens to continue to hold elections in exceedingly difficult conditions….(More)”

Public Crowdsourcing: Analyzing the Role of Government Feedback on Civic Digital Platforms


Paper by Lisa Schmidthuber, Dennis Hilgers, and Krithika Randhawa: “Government organizations increasingly use crowdsourcing platforms to interact with citizens and integrate their requests in designing and delivering public services. Government usually provides feedback to individual users on whether the request can be considered. Drawing on attribution theory, this study asks how the causal attributions of the government response affect continued participation in crowdsourcing platforms. To test our hypotheses, we use a 7-year dataset of both online requests from citizens to government and government responses to citizen requests. We focus on citizen requests that are denied by government, and find that stable and uncontrollable attributions of the government response have a negative effect on future participation behavior. Also, a local government’s locus of causality negatively affects continued participation. This study contributes to research on the role of responsiveness in digital interaction between citizens and government and highlights the importance of rationale transparency to sustain citizen participation…(More)”.

Open Data Standard and Analysis Framework: Towards Response Equity in Local Governments


Paper by Joy Hsu, Ramya Ravichandran, Edwin Zhang, and Christine Keung: “There is an increasing need for open data in governments and systems to analyze equity at large scale. Local governments often lack the necessary technical tools to identify and tackle inequities in their communities. Moreover, these tools may not generalize across departments and cities nor be accessible to the public. To this end, we propose a system that facilitates centralized analyses of publicly available government datasets through 1) a US Census-linked API, 2) an equity analysis playbook, and 3) an open data standard to regulate data intake and support equitable policymaking….(More)”.

Building Global Societies on Collective Intelligence: Challenges and Opportunities


Article by Shweta Suran et al: “Digital disruptions caused by use of technologies like social media arguably present a formidable challenge to democratic values and in-turn to Collective Intelligence (CI or “wisdom-of-crowd”), which the former is an emblem of. These challenges such as misinformation, partisan bias, polarization, and rising mistrust in institutions (incl. mainstream media), present a new threat to collectives both online and offline—amplifying the risk of turning “wise” crowds “mad”, and rendering their actions counterproductive. Considering the increasingly important role crowds play in solving today’s socio-political, technological, and economical issues, and in shaping our future, we identify time-critical challenges and potential solutions that require urgent attention if future CI systems are to sustain their indispensable role as global deliberation instruments….(More)”.

Are we really so polarised?


Article by Dominic Packer and Jay Van Bavel: “In 2020, the match-making website OkCupid asked 5 million hopeful daters around the world: “Could you date someone who has strong political opinions that are the opposite of yours?” Sixty per cent said no, up from 53% a year before.

Scholars used to worry that societies might not be polarised enough. Without clear differences between political parties, they thought, citizens lack choices, and important issues don’t get deeply debated. Now this notion seems rather quaint as countries have fractured along political lines, reflected in everything from dating preferences to where people choose to live.

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Just how stark has political polarisation become? Well, it depends on where you live and how you look at it. When social psychologists study relations between groups, they often find that whereas people like their own groups a great deal, they have fairly neutral feelings towards out-groups: “They’re fine, but we’re great!” This pattern used to describe relations between Democrats and Republicans in the US. In 1980, partisans reported feeling warm towards members of their own party and neutral towards people on the other side. However, while levels of in-party warmth have remained stable since then, feelings towards the out-party have plummeted.

The dynamics are similar in the UK, where the Brexit vote was deeply divisive. A 2019 study revealed that while UK citizens were not particularly identified with political parties, they held strong identities as remainers or leavers. Their perceptions were sharply partisan, with each side regarding its supporters as intelligent and honest, while viewing the other as selfish and close-minded. The consequences of hating political out-groups are many and varied. It can lead people to support corrupt politicians, because losing to the other side seems unbearable. It can make compromise impossible even when you have common political ground. In a pandemic, it can even lead people to disregard advice from health experts if they are embraced by opposing partisans.

The negativity that people feel towards political opponents is known to scientists as affective polarisation. It is emotional and identity-driven – “us” versus “them”. Importantly, this is distinct from another form of division known as ideological polarisation, which refers to differences in policy preferences. So do we disagree about the actual issues as much as our feelings about each other suggest?

Despite large differences in opinion between politicians and activists from different parties, there is often less polarisation among regular voters on matters of policy. When pushed for their thoughts about specific ideas or initiatives, citizens with different political affiliations often turn out to agree more than they disagree (or at least the differences are not as stark as they imagine).

More in Common, a research consortiumthat explores the drivers of social fracturing and polarisation, reports on areas of agreement between groups in societies. In the UK, for example, they have found that majorities of people across the political spectrum view hate speech as a problem, are proud of the NHS, and are concerned about climate change and inequality…(More)”.

AI-tocracy


Paper by Martin Beraja, Andrew Kao, David Y. Yang & Noam Yuchtman: “Can frontier innovation be sustained under autocracy? We argue that innovation and autocracy can be mutually reinforcing when: (i) the new technology bolsters the autocrat’s power; and (ii) the autocrat’s demand for the technology stimulates further innovation in applications beyond those benefiting it directly. We test for such a mutually reinforcing relationship in the context of facial recognition AI in China. To do so, we gather comprehensive data on AI firms and government procurement contracts, as well as on social unrest across China during the last decade. We first show that autocrats benefit from AI: local unrest leads to greater government procurement of facial recognition AI, and increased AI procurement suppresses subsequent unrest. We then show that AI innovation benefits from autocrats’ suppression of unrest: the contracted AI firms innovate more both for the government and commercial markets. Taken together, these results suggest the possibility of sustained AI innovation under the Chinese regime: AI innovation entrenches the regime, and the regime’s investment in AI for political control stimulates further frontier innovation….(More)”.

Institutionalizing deliberative mini-publics? Issues of legitimacy and power for randomly selected assemblies in political systems


Paper by Dimitri Courant: “Randomly selected deliberative mini-publics (DMPs) are on the rise globally. However, they remain ad hoc, opening the door to arbitrary manoeuvre and triggering a debate on their future institutionalization. What are the competing proposals aiming at institutionalizing DMPs within political systems? I suggest three ways for thinking about institutionalization: in terms of temporality, of legitimacy and support, and of power and role within a system. First, I analyze the dimension of time and how this affect DMP institutional designs. Second, I argue that because sortition produces ‘weak representatives’ with ‘humility-legitimacy’, mini-publics hardly ever make binding decisions and need to rely on external sources of legitimacies. Third, I identify four institutional models, relying on opposing views of legitimacy and politics: tamed consultation, radical democracy, representative klerocracy and hybrid polyarchy. They differ in whether mini-publics are interpreted as tools: for legitimizing elected officials; to give power to the people; or as a mean to suppress voting…(More)”.

What Collective Narcissism Does to Society


Essay by  Scott Barry Kaufman: “In 2005, the psychologist Agnieszka Golec de Zavala was researching extremist groups, trying to understand what leads people to commit acts of terrorist violence. She began to notice something that looked a lot like what the 20th-century scholars Theodor Adorno and Erich Fromm had referred to as “group narcissism”: Golec de Zavala defined it to me as “a belief that the exaggerated greatness of one’s group is not sufficiently recognized by others,” in which that thirst for recognition is never satiated. At first, she thought it was a fringe phenomenon, but important nonetheless. She developed the Collective Narcissism Scale to measure the severity of group-narcissistic beliefs, including statements such as “My group deserves special treatment” and “I insist upon my group getting the respect that is due to it” with which respondents rate their agreement.

Sixteen years later, Golec de Zavala is a professor at SWPS University, in Poland, and a lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, leading the study of group narcissism—and she’s realized that there’s nothing fringe about it. This thinking can happen in seemingly any kind of assemblage: a religious, political, gender, racial, or ethnic group, but also a sports team, club, or cult. Now, she said, she’s terrified at how widely she’s finding it manifested across the globe.

Collective narcissism is not simply tribalism. Humans are inherently tribal, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Having a healthy social identity can have an immensely positive impact on well-being. Collective narcissists, though, are often more focused on out-group prejudice than in-group loyalty. In its most extreme form, group narcissism can fuel political radicalism and potentially even violence. But in everyday settings, too, it can keep groups from listening to one another, and lead them to reduce people on the “other side” to one-dimensional characters. The best way to avoid that is by teaching people how to be proud of their group—without obsessing over recognition….(More)”.

Design for Social Innovation: Case Studies from Around the World


Book edited By Mariana Amatullo, Bryan Boyer, Jennifer May and Andrew Shea: “The United Nations, Australia Post, and governments in the UK, Finland, Taiwan, France, Brazil, and Israel are just a few of the organizations and groups utilizing design to drive social change. Grounded by a global survey in sectors as diverse as public health, urban planning, economic development, education, humanitarian response, cultural heritage, and civil rights, Design for Social Innovation captures these stories and more through 45 richly illustrated case studies from six continents.

From advocating to understanding and everything in between, these cases demonstrate how designers shape new products, services, and systems while transforming organizations and supporting individual growth.

How is this work similar or different around the world? How are designers building sustainable business practices with this work? Why are organizations investing in design capabilities? What evidence do we have of impact by design? Leading practitioners and educators, brought together in seven dynamic roundtable discussions, provide context to the case studies.

Design for Social Innovation is a must-have for professionals, organizations, and educators in design, philanthropy, social innovation, and entrepreneurship. This book marks the first attempt to define the contours of a global overview that showcases the cultural, economic, and organizational levers propelling design for social innovation forward today…(More)”