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Citizen Participation, Deliberative Democracy and the Reconstruction of Rural Public Order

Author: WuXingZhi
Tutor: ChenShengYong
School: Zhejiang University
Course: Political Theory
Keywords: democratic discussion citizen participation deliberative democracy rural public order deliberative governance
CLC: D621
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2008
Downloads: 2059
Quote: 9
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Abstract


The deliberative governance model in Wenling, Zhejiang Provence, whose carrier is democratic discussion, is an important institutional innovation of the national grass-roots democracy and rural governance. With regard to this model, all citizens can take part in the governmental decision-making process and rural public affairs equally and freely, and justify themselves or change their own preference while deliberating with others. The general practice of this deliberative governance in Wenling has brought much profound change to the transformation of rural public order which started in 1980s. With the view-angle of deliberative governance and transformation of rural public order, this dissertation, using the theory of deliberative democracy, discoursed citizen participation, the rural policy-making and the changes of rural public power in the deliberative governance model, so as to reveal the value of deliberative governance to the transformation of rural public order both theoretically and practically. After this, the route of the change of national rural governance can be discussed. Centering on this theme, the dissertation unfolds as follows:The first two chapters introduced the theoretical means and the case. Some issues were discussed, such as why rural governance can benefit from citizen participation, how the citizens participate in public affairs and in what ground deliberative democracy tallies with deliberative governance model. Three aspects, which included actors, public power and civil right, and the public sphere, are chosen to discuss the rural public order. After a brief retrospection of evolution of the rural public order, the advent and development of democratic discussion in Wenling were dwelt, in combination with the development of grass-roots democracy in Zhejiang Province. The original intention of democratic discussion is to innovate a new carrier of thought political work, in which the local government responded to the difficulties. And then, the local government took advantage of this opportunity to transform this carrier into grass-roots democracy. In the further development of democratic discussion, deliberative polling and democratic consideration were emerged instead of traditional consultation-interrogatory democratic discussion.In the following three chapters, the deliberative governance model was discussed in different view-angles. First of all, the operate mechanism of deliberative governance was discoursed as a whole, including the driving force for deliberative governance and how the public deliberation influenced the rural public decision-making. And after that, the function of deliberative governance in the reconstruction of rural public order was discoursed by view-angle of citizen participation and public power respectively, in which the inner relationship between citizen deliberative participation and the expansion of rural public sphere was specially discoursed just as the influence of deliberative governance to the structure and operate mechanism of public power.With the above analysis, the last two chapters talked about the value and limitation of deliberative governance model in the reconstruction of rural public order. The rural public order could be re-constructed by the transformation of civil culture, the expansion of rural public sphere and the balance between public power and civil rights. And a possible route of the change of rural governance, which is "absorption-integration-reconstruction", was proposed for discussion. Although the rural deliberative governance model had brought much changes to rural governance, such as promoting the force of citizens, changing the role and function of the government and easing the contradiction and conflict, it had suffered some restrictions which came from the pressurized system, uncertain institution and disadvantages of the citizens.The practice of deliberative governance hardly brought a fundamental change for rural public order, but with its further and deep development, it could open up a new sight for rural public order by accelerate the transformation of social structure and civil culture. The deliberative governance model in Wenling shows that the true significance of reconstruction of rural public order means the structural balance and coordinated interaction between all the actors in rural governance, which can be obtained in the expansion of rural public sphere by democratic election, democratic decision-making, democratic management and democratic supervision in the active motions of both government and citizens.

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