This paper argues that social and political problems currently addressed by local governments through new forms of digital participation can be considered wicked problems, because they cannot be tackled through factual information alone. Addressing such problems means connecting diverse citizens’ values to empirically based and logically based arguments. The paper addresses the question of which role citizens’ personal narratives and emotions play in digital participation and how narratives and emotions articulate personal and social values. This line of inquiry is illustrated by two examples of digital participation on the local and regional level of democracy. The examples show that citizens’ narratives and emotional expressions articulate diverse values and value conflicts (e.g., security vs. universalism). Finally, the paper develops some preliminary ideas about how online argument mapping tools could be combined with value mapping.
© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston