As indicated in Chapter 1, we find it necessary to distinguish between the kinds of deliberations where the organiser wants to consider the opinions and reactions of lay citizens, from the processes where the idea is to include the knowledge of, and to consider the interests of stakeholders. Organisers and participants in both types of events would probably state that their intention is to develop democracy, but citizens’ influence and stakeholder influence should be regarded as two different approaches: the first is a layman approach, while the second is about incorporating organised interests, often with some professional background in the theme the deliberation covers. In empirical, as opposed to theoretical, deliberations, things are a bit less clear-cut, however. In most of the citizens’ deliberations, stakeholders were invited to present their views and perspectives, but this was conceived as input to the debates and deliberations of the non-professionals. We have also seen that the citizen-based deliberations vary along a number of dimensions (see Chapter 2); the number of participants, the time resources, participants’ access to expertise, and the process’ closeness to ‘legitimate’ policy-making. It is fair to mention that time
resources cover both the duration of the deliberation itself, and the time available for mutual and individual learning (prior to the deliberation, between meetings). Much of this variation is present in this selection of seven deliberations. We have chosen to review the three ‘classical’ nano deliberations in Denmark, the United Kingdom, and Germany. This is also a result of increased intensity and increased access to resources; from the 13 persons/3 hours/2 lectures in Copenhagen via the U.K. NanoJury’s 16 participants having 18 meetings with expert witnesses over a 5-week period to the German Consumer Conference’s 16 consumer-citizens’ 8-month engagement with access to a number of experts at different stages of the process. The next two deliberations that are reviewed are the two French events/processes Nanomonde and the Citizens’ Conference in Îlede-France. They are interesting because they are different in size, meaning, the number of participants, as well as on the question of intensity, that is, the duration of the process. In addition the relationship between the deliberation and the political authorities is very different. Beyond the scope of this publication, France is also an interesting case because of the significant nano unrest that has been reported after, but probably not because of these exercises in participatory democracy. Finally, we review two processes undertaken outside of the European Union; a rather small and intensive process in Madison, United States, with 13 citizens meeting in 3 to 4 hour sessions, and the more ambitious National Citizens’ Technology Forum (NCTF), also in the United States, where 6 groups of maximum 15 citizens in different geographical locations participated in 9 online sessions over a month-long period, in addition to face-to-face meetings in the groups. The NCTF is also notable for its rather precise theme of human enhancement. With the possible exception of the German Consumer Conference that concentrated on three important product groups, the other deliberations reviewed here approach the broad theme of ‘nano and society’. Thus, the NCTF points towards what we regard as second (or even third) generation of deliberative processes (see Chapter 13). Because of the design of the forum, it is also the best documented case here, mainly because of a pre-and post-event questionnaire. For Île-de-France and Madison, we have included the written statements from the groups as appendixes to the respective chapters,
in order to illustrate the way that citizens formulated their political and ethical concerns and the scope of their engagement. We have presented the events/deliberations in a more or less uniform way, but hopefully without strangling the authors’ creativity too much. Where they felt it was needed, authors were free to use the introduction or the summarising appraisal to put the specific deliberation into political, national, and/or academic contexts. The most important common threads is that all chapters consider Cohen’s four deliberation criteria, in addition to explaining matters of initiative, organisation, resources, and participation. Finally, we have registered whether consumer questions were explicitly treated in the deliberations.