Between democracy and expertise? Citizens' participation and environmental integrated assessment in Venice (Italy) and St. Helens (UK)

  • Darier É
  • Gough C
  • De Marchi B
 et al. 
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Abstract

Citizens' participation in integrated assessment of climate change highlights the uneasy relationship between democracy and expert knowledges as they have been generally understood in the West. Based on empirical material gathered through in-depth groups in Venice (Italy) and citizens' panels in St. Helens (UK), the paper explores: (1) some of the challenges and opportunities of qualitative and comparative research on climate change; and (2) the similarities and differences in citizens’ environmental assessment in two European cities facing economic, urban and social re-structuring. The authors research reveals a general willingness to participate, albeit conditional, despite initial scepticism and interrogation about the objectives. During the process, participants in both cities show: (a) a broad contextual understanding of uncertainties and complexities; (b) how important interpersonal skills between lay and expert publics are; and (c) that precaution should generally apply in the case of uncertainties...

Author-supplied keywords

  • citizens' participitation
  • democracy
  • environmental integrated assessment
  • expertise

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Authors

  • Éric Darier

  • Clair Gough

  • Bruna De Marchi

  • Silvio Funtowicz

  • Robin Grove-White

  • Dryan Kitchener

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