Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance Seminar

Rhetorics of Expertise and Local Knowledge in Citizens' Juries on Wind Farm Development

Tue 7 May 2019Speaker: Sara Drury, Wabash CollegeVenue: The Dryzek Room, Building 22, University of Canberra

ABSTRACT

Today’s global political environment increasingly faces issues that spark tensions between expertise and local knowledge. Socio-scientific issues draw attention towards this tension, as they require negotiation across and through multiple modes of evidence. Democratic innovations, such as deliberative citizens’ juries, been proposed as a means of managing these tensions and as a way of creating representative, fairer decision making. But there are questions around participatory processes, the utilization of expertise, and deliberative quality. The 2013-2014 “Citizens’ juries on wind farm development in Scotland” offers an opportunity to examine how different types of evidence impact deliberative quality in participatory public deliberation. Using transcripts from the citizens’ juries on wind farm development, this paper analyzes arguments from expertise and arguments from experiences. Through a critical-interpretative research methodology utilizing theories of argumentation, we demonstrate how arguments relating to scientific evidence prominently functioned as de facto reasoning whereas arguments with economic evidence more prominently interacted with local knowledge, experiences, and engagement. The findings offer implications for deliberative design to improve and promote deliberative quality.

BIO

Sara A. Mehltretter Drury, Ph.D., is Associate Professor and Chair of Rhetoric at Wabash College, a liberal arts college in Indiana, U.S.A.  She also serves as Director of Wabash Democracy and Public Discourse, an interdisciplinary initiative that partners with communities to hold dialogue and deliberation events.  Drury’s research focuses on the intersections of rhetoric and deliberative democracy, with particular attention to argumentation and political judgment.  From 2017-2018, she was a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. 

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