Filozofija I Društvo 33 (1):72-97 (2022)

Participation in deliberative arenas is often lauded for its transformative impact on citizens? attitudes, sense of agency and ability to formulate concrete policy proposals. The focus of this paper is the first ever deliberative mini public in Belgrade, centred on the topic of expanding the pedestrian zone and rerouting traffic in the city core. By relying on a set of qualitative and quantitative data collected before and after the deliberation, we aim to explore the effects of the public deliberation on the participants? knowledge, attitudes and preferences. Our hypothesis was that participation in this deliberative process led to better understanding of the discussed topic and change in attitudes and preferences regarding its realization. The scope of this study is limited, given the non-experimental design and small sample. Overall, the results indicate that participants` knowledge on the topic of deliberation is enhanced, becoming more precise, elaborate and encompassing different perspectives. As for the attitudes and preferences, in most cases, around two-thirds of the sample changed their positions, while about a third of the sample changed sides, mostly agreeing less with the expansion of the pedestrian zone. The findings support the conclusion that, on a local level, deliberation has the capacity to inform and enhance competence for greater political participation.
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DOI 10.2298/fid2201072d
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