Giulia Bistagnino, Enrico Biale

The complicated relationship between citizens, parties and experts

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: intra-party deliberation; expertise; normative theories of political parties; deliberative democracy

The role of experts within contemporary democracies has become one the most politicised and pressing topics of our time. On one hand, democratic governments need expert advice for effective governance, leading towards forms of technocratic politics; on the other, the spread of populist movements has undermined popular trust in experts. Since these phenomena are troublesome for a democratic polity, we propose a new understanding of the division of labour between experts and citizens. Drawing from a deliberative perspective, we contend that intermediaries between citizens and experts are in order, and political parties, if properly constrained, can provide this function. We claim that if intra-party deliberation between managing party members and experts is granted, then citizens have control over the proposals of experts without needing to directly engage with them. Our perspective recognises the epistemic superiority of experts, unlike populism, but ensures, unlike technocracy, that only citizens can authorise policies.

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