Leydet: Which conception of political equality do deliberative mini-publics promote?

A 2016 paper by Dominique Leydet from the department of philosophy at the University of Québec at Montréal:

Which conception of political equality do deliberative mini-publics promote?

My objective in this article is to achieve a clearer understanding of the conception of political equality that informs at least some of these democratic designs in relation to equality of opportunity, but also in relation to agency, both individual and collective.

To do so, I will focus, in the first section, on the methods of participant selection advocated to secure equal presence. According to what principle is participation distributed? If it is according to the equal chance or equal probability principle, rather than equal opportunity, what difference does this make in terms of the underlying conception of political equality? Is ‘equal presence’ conceived strictly in individualist terms or is it related to groups? And, if so, how?

In the second section, I consider the issue of voice. Achieving equality in this context is conceived in terms of equalizing opportunities for influence among participants (Smith 2009: 21-22; Fishkin 2009: 100-101; Fung 2003: 348). I intend to clarify the conditions the designs establish to achieve this objective despite the existence of background inequalities. How is the political agency of participants understood and facilitated in this respect? And what does this say about the underlying conception of political equality?

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