PROceedings Paper Abstract

Stuart W. Shulman, David Schlosberg. "Electronic Rulemaking: New Frontiers in Public Participation." Paper prepared for delivery at the 2002 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston, August 29-September 1, 2002.

Paper (requires Acrobat Reader)

Keywords: e-government, science policy, environmental policy, democracy


In this paper we propose a social science research agenda that will reflect upon and inform the development of new IT-based approaches to the electronic collection, distribution, sythesis, and analysis of public commentary in the rulemaking process. Two key issues, informed by democratic theory and critical environmental policy, are at the center of our research agenda. First, we will discuss the potential to examine and evaluate, from the perspective of discursive democratic theory, the growing practice of web-based public comment. Discursive democracy brings a number of crucial issues to the study of this digital transformation, including issues of deliberation, diversity, respect, preference change, and the general expansion of discourse in the public sphere. Second, we examine whether the interface between environmental science and public values can be improved in the process of e-rulemaking. We explore the extent to which these new mechanisms of public participation facilitate the integration of scientific knowledge and public values in environmental decision-making.

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