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Authors: Frinken, Julian
Landwehr, Claudia
Title: Information and deliberation in the Covid-19 crisis and in the climate crisis : how expertocratic practices undermine self-government and compliance
Online publication date: 20-Jan-2023
Year of first publication: 2022
Language: english
Abstract: At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, democracy’s promise to enable well-informed, responsible decisions gained almost unprecedented appeal. At this stage, many European governments mainly deferred to expert judgment. This is what some experts and activist groups occasionally call for in the case of an even more severe global crisis: the climate crisis. But where citizens are asked to more or less blindly follow the lead of expert judgments, politics takes what Lafont (Democracy without shortcuts: a participatory conception of deliberative democracy. Oxford University Press, Oxford,, 2020) calls an ‘expertocratic shortcut’. In the first part of this paper, we delineate the perceptions of threat that characterize these two cases and that can lead to expertocratic temptations. We point out that shortcuts to democratic decisions not only constitute dead ends, but can also be used to reinforce existing power structures. In the second part, we show how and why such shortcuts are sociologically likely to cause alienation and reactance, as accountability is lost and the rationale for decisions cannot be retraced. We conclude that if a democratic system is to live up to its promise of rationality, legitimate expert involvement has to meet three requirements: political mandate and control, transparency of uncertainty and expert disagreement, linkage to inclusive and effective citizen deliberation.
DDC: 320 Politik
320 Political science
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 02 Sozialwiss., Medien u. Sport
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
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Journal: Acta politica
Version of Record (VoR)
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Publisher place: Basingstoke
Issue date: 2022
ISSN: 1741-1416
Publisher DOI: 10.1057/s41269-022-00267-2
Appears in collections:DFG-491381577-H

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