umu.sePublications
Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Prospects for democratic evaluation in a polarised and mediatised society
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science, Umeå Centre for Evaluation Research (UCER). (UCER)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6255-9991
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

There is growing worry about increasing polarisation and threats to democracy, but few have discussed how such threats can be dealt with in evaluation. Picciotto (2015) is an exception, having suggested that progressive evaluation can deal with the new evolving context of evaluation. This paper discusses how progressive evaluation and four other democratic evaluation orientations (the elite-democratic, the participatory democratic, the discursive democratic and the market democratic evaluation) can help manage current threats and challenges and how these orientations can be developed. The paper is informed by democracy and mediatisation research and democratic evaluation theory.

Obviously, the current conditions for democratic evaluation are radically different from when MacDonald (1976, 1978) first developed the democratic evaluation concept in the 1970s. Today democracy is under pressure, and the status and credibility of scientific knowledge and public media have declined among some citizens, organisations, and politicians. Supposedly, this goes for evaluation as well.  Some observers have claimed that the ‘open society’ and established democratic institutions have weakened (Freedom House, 2018; Keane, 2008).  Others have discussed the potential for democratic renewal (e.g. Schmitter, 2015) and point to new forms of political engagement, rising youth participation, social media, and deliberative polls, for example. The paper also pays attention to the mediatisation of public policy and governance as this phenomenon has created new challenges for democracy and evaluation.

Whether democracy is described as in decline or in transition affects how we conceive current threats and challenges to democratic evaluation. When rethinking how democratic evaluation can respond to current challenges, the evaluator should consider which narrative of changing democracy to assume. Viewed from a liberal or elite-democratic evaluation perspective (Hanberger, 2006), the notion of decline fits well and the challenge is then to protect current democratic institutions. In contrast, from a participatory or deliberative democratic evaluation perspective, democracy in transition is more suitable. The challenge then expands to one of supporting democratic renewal, for example, through participation and deliberation in new digital settings.

The paper demonstrates that democratic evaluation is poorly prepared to manage current threats to democracy and the mediatisation of public policy. Progressive evaluation is the only approach offering new keys to addressing certain current threats and challenges. However, it remains to be seen how well this approach works in practice, whether it can mobilise independent funding, build alliances with advocacy groups, and support democracy as intended. The other orientations have some capacity to manage threats to democracy and support democratic renewal, but need further development. The paper suggests that democratic evaluation could be a constructive tool for maintaining and developing democracy in a polarised and mediatised society if evaluators gain knowledge of threats to democracy, democratic transition, and democratic renewal and, informed by mediatisation and democracy research, develop the necessary awareness and competence to deal with these challenges.

The article’s findings can be used in deliberating on how to support democracy, addressing the mediatisation of policy and governance and what this means for democracy, and developing media strategies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
Democratic evaluation, democratic threats, polarisation, democratic renewal, mediatisation of governance, mediatisation of evaluation, media strategies
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-152492OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-152492DiVA, id: diva2:1254098
Conference
13th European Evaluation Society Biennial Conference, Thessaloniki, Greece, October 3-5, 2018
Available from: 2018-10-08 Created: 2018-10-08 Last updated: 2018-10-08

Open Access in DiVA

No full text in DiVA

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Hanberger, Anders
By organisation
Umeå Centre for Evaluation Research (UCER)
Social Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

urn-nbn

Altmetric score

urn-nbn
Total: 66 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf