No SDES-2017-19
Title Reconciling intergenerational conflicts with imaginary future generations - Evidence from a participatory deliberation practice in a municipality in Japan -
Author Keishiro Hara, Ritsuji Yoshioka, Masashi Kuroda, Shuji Kurimoto and Tatsuyoshi Saijo
Abstract Coping with intergenerational conflicts is one of the fundamental keys to building a sustainable society. However, current decision-making systems tend to be inclined towards the preferences of present generations, simply because future generations do not yet exist and therefore cannot participate in present day negotiating processes. In this paper, with an aim towards reconciling possible intergenerational conflicts, we present the first attempt at creating a participatory intergenerational deliberation practice by creating "imaginary future generation" groups to represent future generations and negotiate with present generation groups regarding future visions and associated decision making. To accomplish this, a series of workshops were organized in a local municipality in Japan in which participating imaginary future generation groups and present generation groups first deliberated separately, and then worked together, to form a consensus over prioritizing policy measures associated with their separate visions of the municipality in 2060. We then analyzed deliberation and consensus-building processes used and observed a stark contrast in deliberation styles and priorities between the groups. For example, imaginary future generation group measures were primarily characterized by utilizing existing local resources while the present generation groups aimed more at solving current problems. Notably, the consensus-building processes resulted in choosing more than half of measures originally proposed by the imaginary future generation groups, thereby indicating that decision-making preferences had shifted to future generations. We contend that our approach, which is based on introducing imaginary future generation groups as stakeholders, could provide indicators towards coping with intergenerational conflicts via present-day decision-making processes.
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