DELIBERATE WINDOW DRESSING: A case study of deliberative democracy enhancement by means of the Open Method of Coordination in the Czech Republic
The notion of deliberate democracy in political discourse seems to imply a profound normative message, unconditionally supporting justice and fairness. Similarly, the deliberative democracy theory asserts the power of public interaction to shape inclusive and fair social policies within the European Union. However, the paradox is rooted in EU instrumentally employed appeal to the deliberativeness which forces to reorganise national polity and alter normative position of its citizens in pursuit of more pragmatic EU interests. However, this tendency ultimately undermines the ideal principles of unconstrained reasoning in a public sphere. The ideational EU acclaim to be a strong player fostered exploration of a question how EU forges itself as a normative actor through multifaceted governmental tool - the Open Method of Coordination, and conceals empowered deliberation under the shield of ideal discursive interaction. Thus, the aim of this research is to contribute to the existent knowledge of democracy theory by analytically investigating an effect of the Open Method of Coordination for Social Inclusion on the deliberation practice and diffusion of social norms in the Czech Republic. The process tracing as an analytical method was beneficial to trace political developments and identify that national institutions, inadequate attention to gender mainstreaming within social inclusion dimension and little knowledge of EU concepts as well as lack of grassroots mobilisation had effect on low change of social agenda in the Czech Republic. A single case study yields results suggesting that deliberation practice resembles empowered deliberation, undermining free, equal and amorphous discussion in a public sphere.