How deliberative designs empower citizens’ voices: A case study on Ghana’s deliberative poll on agriculture and the environment
Empowering ordinary citizens with the capacity to deliberate is a core issue in science communication. Despite growing deliberative practices in developed nations, it is significantly less understood how public deliberation can happen among populations who live with limited educational resources and poor urban infrastructure in developing countries. This article studied a case of a well-designed deliberation method, Deliberative Poll, in Tamale, Ghana. I analyzed the stimulus information video and thousands of speech acts from deliberation transcripts to examine how expertise was used and what was deliberated in public dialogue. A broad range of expertise and interests were represented. Participants had thoughtful discussions on complex policy issues and their discussion results were considered by local policymakers. This article contributes to our understanding of how to effectively foster public deliberation among populations in the Global South and measure the nuances of expertise and public reasoning on science.