Deliberative policy-making and its limitations: the case of the Charter of Human Rights for Seoul Citizens in South Korea

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Abstract

Recent criticism of representative liberal democracy has spurred democratic experiments involving citizen consultations in deliberative forums. However, more research is needed in order to understand the conditions necessary to make them work. The aim of this paper is to help mitigate this deficiency and at the same time contribute to an informed reflection over the specific conditions for deliberative democracy in Korea. The study focuses on a unique deliberative process organized in order to establish a Charter of Human Rights for Seoul Citizens. Several lessons from this democratic experiment are discussed. While the process worked surprisingly well, its legitimacy was questioned because of controversies over the representativeness of participants and the involvement of external stakeholders. Although a complete consensus was not reached, initially disrespectful attitudes changed within the process to a situation where diverging positions were better acknowledged. How ideas of deliberation can be implemented in real-world public policy-making is discussed based on these findings.

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Kim, D. K., Kim, P. S., & Öberg, P. O. (2018). Deliberative policy-making and its limitations: the case of the Charter of Human Rights for Seoul Citizens in South Korea. Policy Studies, 39(1), 54–69. https://doi.org/10.1080/01442872.2017.1410880

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