Participatory Deliberative Democracy for Peace in El Salvador

Abstract

Postconflict societies such as El Salvador, surpassing 25 years of relative peace since signing the 1992 Chapultepec Peace Accords, have employed many mechanisms to rebuild and establish lasting peace. This study explores the impacts of four types of deliberative democracy mechanisms employed in this postconflict context to build grassroots participation in public policy-making: cabildos abiertos (open town hall meetings), asociaciones de desarrollo comunitario (community development associations), presupuestos participativos (participatory budgeting), and planes estratégicos participativos (participatory strategic plans). Findings suggest that individual participation in these forms of deliberative democracy implemented in postconflict El Salvador is associated with increased trust in local government. However, participation is also associated with higher levels of direct experience with personal violence and decreased satisfaction with one’s community. Findings suggest that implementing participatory deliberative democracy mechanisms in postconflict contexts is not alone enough to address the critiques of top-down liberal peacebuilding. Participatory forums for policy-making in postwar contexts should be designed and employed with conflict dynamics in mind to foster possible positive effects of deliberative democracy while mitigating potential negative effects on peacebuilding.

Keywords

El Salvador, postconflict peacebuilding, citizen participation, deliberative democracy

How to Cite

Mundt M., (2019) “Participatory Deliberative Democracy for Peace in El Salvador”, Journal of Public Deliberation 15(3). doi: https://doi.org/10.16997/jdd.346

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Marcia D. Mundt (University of Massachusetts Boston)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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