What is the future we want? Future Session Workshops in Japanese Deliberative Democracy
This study explored the nature of Future Session workshops in current Japan by identifying the motivations, conducting analysis from the point of view a deliberative democracy, and examining the potentials for developing future visions of society. Four workshops were targeted that dealt with a wide range of societal problems and commonly challenged existing societal structures. The study found that the workshops were motivated by the doubt over the current direction of the society, a demand for a crosscutting cooperation between different fields, and a need to foster proactive actors through participatory workshop processes. Accordingly, it is argued that “deliberative democracy of workshops” based on dialogue and collaboration rather than confrontational communication and competition constitutes a Japanese deliberative democracy. The study also shows that the created projects and processes of deliberation contained many critical perspectives towards the dominant societal structure and norms. Finally, it is concluded that the process of actualizing the projects should be reflected carefully and the potential of these methods depends on the overreaching objective of its use.
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