Dr. Ray Hebestreit was a NRW School of Governance/AICGS Fellow from October to December 2012. His research at AICGS focused on discursive civic participation procedures in the USA.
During the last several years, especially in Germany, a trend has emerged toward more direct civic participation in the political process. In addition to formal participation procedures, frequent less formal discursive civic participation instruments have taken place, particularly at the local or regional level. However, Germany has had little experience with these instruments because they have only been undertaken sporadically in recent years.
In contrast, the United States has had far more, and a much longer, experience with (discursive) civic participation procedures, particularly in terms of local democracy. There is also a wider range of participation instruments in general. Therefore, it seems to be worthwhile to look at current developments with regard to civic participation in the U.S. at the local and regional levels. What different types of discursive civic participation procedures are frequently used? What kind of (institutional) innovations have taken place during the last several years with regard to instruments and procedures of civic participation? What was the experience? Finally, what conclusions can be drawn from the experience in the U.S. with regard to a potential use of some of these instruments and procedures in Germany or North Rhine-Westphalia?
Ray Hebestreit studied Political Science (Major) and Economics (Minor) and received a PhD at the University of Duisburg-Essen. In his research he focuses on political participation in general. In his dissertation he examined the function and the significance of discursive civic participation procedures in the so-called knowledge society, with a special focus on the German political system. Therefore, he analyzed three different discursive participation procedures: Mediation in the Public Area, Planning Cells and Consensus Conferences. His dissertation will be published in November 2012.
Since 2007, Ray Hebestreit has been a research assistant at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen. In addition, he is editor-in-chief of the Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft – Journal of Political Science.
Made possible by the support of NRW School of Governance