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Silent Actors in Rulemaking: Challenges and Ways Ahead

What is wrong with inclusive participation in rule-making and what to do about it?

Add to calendar 2023-10-13 17:00 2023-10-13 18:30 Europe/Rome Silent Actors in Rulemaking: Challenges and Ways Ahead Hannah Arendt Room Buontalenti - Casino Mediceo YYYY-MM-DD


13 October 2023

17:00 - 18:30 CEST


Hannah Arendt Room

Buontalenti - Casino Mediceo

Organised by the European Nonviolence Network, this seminar delves into the role played by silent actors in rulemaking. It will explore how participatory rights do not guarantee visibility and propose ways in which silent actors can prove influential.

Professor Kati Rantala will examine the rationales and dilemmas of inclusive participation in rulemaking from the perspective of 'silent actors', that should have a voice in rulemaking but are not heard, and propose some feasible solutions. The partly overlapping rationales, exemplified in human rights documents and regulatory guidelines, are as follows: 1) participatory rights and obligations to support their realization (the normative rationale), 2) obtaining relevant knowledge (the epistemic rationale), and 3) democratic legitimacy (the democratic rationale). Participatory rights do not automatically lead to being heard, which is not directly linked to gaining comprehensive knowledge.

Equity can be seen as a solution to deficiencies in equal participation, but pragmatic difficulties and representation exemplify democratic deficit. To enhance the experiential knowledge of silent actors to attain a relevant footing in the epistemic struggles of rule-making, Professor Rantala turns to the method of simulation, combined with analogical reasoning. 

The purpose is to gain generalizable knowledge that relies on structural, processual, contextual and motivational commonalities. This is a top-down approach guided by the epistemic rationale but insofar as the contents remain experience-based, derived from open-ended and accessible discussions, the approach resonates with agonistic radical democracy embracing the visibility of the plurality of views. It also supports representative democracy by equipping Parliament with comprehensive knowledge for informed decision-making. However, participation alone is hardly sufficient for building a sufficient knowledge base on silent actors, necessitating also other means of knowledge gathering.

While open to the general public, members of the EUI community are highly encouraged to join the discussion. The event will be held in a hybrid setup, interested participants are invited to register at the link below.

Professor Kati Rantala is Research Director, Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy, University of Helsinki, where she leads on the SILE project.


Karolina Klimiuk

Scientific Organiser(s):

European Nonviolence Network


Kati Elina Rantala (Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki)

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