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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter 2023

20 Citizens’ assemblies and their effects on the population

From the book De Gruyter Handbook of Citizens’ Assemblies

  • Saskia Goldberg


A so-called “deliberative wave” is currently hitting the globe, with citizens’ assemblies (CAs) being convened all over the world. While much research has been done both on internal qualities of CAs and macro political uptake, little is known about their effects on the wider public, namely (1) how CAs affect non-participating citizens and (2) how non-participants perceive CAs. This chapter seeks to disentangle, systemize, and summarize effects on the wider public and applies an integrative, yet “realistic” approach to classify effects on non-participants by distinguishing between (a) theoretical claims in conjuncture with CAs, (b) observed effects on the wider public, (c) citizens’ expectations, and (d) perceived legitimacy. It argues that CAs do not automatically have positive effects on the population, but can also have no or even negative effects. Further, it argues that such effects hinge both on the awareness and contextualization of CAs.

© 2023 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
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