Deliberative Democracy in Action: Citizens’ performances, state enactments, and the influence of state policy and literacy

Fri, November 22, 2019 12:00 PM - Fri, November 22, 2019 1:30 PM at 457 Berkey

Title: Deliberative Democracy in Action: Citizens’ performances, state enactments, and the influence of state policy and literacy

Dr. SanyalSpeaker: Dr. Paromita Sanyal, Associate Professor of Sociology at Florida State University

Sanyal will present on her latest book ‘Oral Democracy: Deliberation in Indian Village Assemblies (2018, Cambridge University Press).’Oral Democracy studies citizens’ voices in civic and political deliberations in India’s village assemblies. These assemblies are grassroots institutions of participatory democracy and the largest deliberative institution in human history. The book is based on a talk-centered qualitative analysis of three hundred Indian village assemblies sampled within the framework of a natural experiment. It reveals how deliberation between citizens and the state in a mass democracy is influenced by state policy and literacy.
The presentation will focus on the typology of citizens’ performances and state enactments identified across four South Indian states and suggest explanations for the vast state-wise differences. It will emphasize that citizens’ oral participation in development and governance can be improved by strengthening deliberative spaces through policy, and this can be achieved even in conditions of high inequality and illiteracy. The presentation will introduce the concepts of “oral competence” and “oral democracy” to aid the understanding of deliberative systems in non-western and ‘developing’ countries and show how these concepts might be useful to understand the interactions of marginalized groups with the state even in highly ‘developed’ countries.