[governance] Muti-stakeholder Group structure (some ideas)

mgurst at vcn.bc.ca mgurst at vcn.bc.ca
Fri Jun 1 05:31:21 EDT 2007


What I don't understand from this below is first of all, given your
initial statement why should participants categorized at all (your three
"estates" as it were...

> As I've had the opportunity to mention in other posts, participants in
> multi-stakeholder processes do not and should not "represent" people or
> organizations in the traditional sense of representative democracy,
> meaning taking decisions in their place. They represent viewpoints, the
> > diversity of viewpoints.

And secondly if there is some substantive value in having categories i.e.
"to make sure that all facets of a given issue are taken into account" as
indicated below, how does one avoid my issues of "representation,
accountability and inclusion" as the means of ensuring precisely this
requirement i.e. as the means to avoiding the situation where all facets
of a given issue are NOT taken into account for some (identifiable)
reason--lack of resources, physical coercion, lack of information etc.etc.

> The purpose of a multi-stakeholder deliberation, in my view, is
> to make sure that all facets of a given issue (technical, social, economic
> and policy) are taken into account in the discussion from the onset,
> before rushing towards the drafting of a "solution".

And finally, as those who have been following recent discussions
concerning the use of rhetoric in US politics (Lakoff et al) it is
difficult to dispute  I think that there is a direct connection between
the ways in which an issue is framed for debate (i.e. how in your term the
issue comes to be "understood" and the ultimate decision that is made
concerning the issue. Which brings us I think full circle back to issues
of representation, accountability and inclusion. That is, if decisions are
to be made by "consensus" then how those decisions are formed (the issue
questions are presented) and who has the opportunity/means to participate
in that consensus is of critical significance.

> As we can witness in the ICANN whois debate, involvement of all
> categories of actors is  critical to understand completely an issue.
> Therefore, the question should never be : "how many divisions ?" (ie how
> many members does this person "represent"). Because we do not talk about
> voting here, but about thorough examination of issues, discussion,
> democracy
> through deliberation. And therefore the right question is : does this
> person
> help understand a specific dimension of the issue or the position and
> interests of a given group of actors, does this person contribute
> constructively to a better common understanding ? The primary goal is
> consensus building in the analysis of an issue, not weighted voting. The
> question is participation, not representation. A single individual with
> good
> ideas is much more important to these processes than the "representative"
> of
> an organization claiming millions of members who have never heard of the
> positions he/she is taking publicly in a given process.
I think pace Milton below that the issue is more than simply "outreach"
which implies a process of a group reaching out towards others for
additional participation with the implicit assumption that the
group/structure reaching out has already reached a firm ground of
legitimacy and substance. The issues that I have been pointing
to--representativeness, accountability and inclusion--go rather beyond the
capacity of an "outreach" strategy to resolve since many of those whose
presence and participation is to my mind crucial for the civil society
"category" to have legitimacy will very likely expect (demand) alternative
forms of representativeness, accountability and inclusion beyond those
that are currently practiced within the CS "category".

And I think that Milton's comments concerning the inclusion of the high
school glee club is a major red herring.  The issue is not managing "mass
participation" but rather ensuring appropriate structures for appropriate
participation (hmmm... getting us back to issues of representation, I

> The right question in your comments is : how to ensure outreach (reporting
> /information on what is happening to the "outside") and reduce the barrier
> to engagement (remote participation, online tools, travel support,etc...).
> But on that I share Milton's remarks : "getting people involved in
> something is far more complex than inviting them" and "the
infrastructure > for mass participation is always built by a small
dedicated group that
> labors in the wilderness for years, sometimes decades, before anyone
pays > attention."


> But representation (in the sense of voting and elections) is probably not
> the good basis for this new paradigm, however preseent this model is to
> us.


Mike Gurstein


> ____________________
> Bertrand de La Chapelle
> Tel : +33 (0)6 11 88 33 32
> "Le plus beau métier des hommes, c'est d'unir les hommes" Antoine de Saint
> Exupéry
> ("there is no better mission for humans than uniting humans")
> !DSPAM:2676,465fc10615221501910795!

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