Eva Groen-Reijman

Winner Dissertation Prize 2019

Deliberative Political Campaigns: Democracy, Autonomy and Persuasion.

Supervisor: Prof. dr. Beate Roessler
Co-supervisor: Dr. Robin Celikates
Nomination: University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Humanities (Political Philosophy & Digital Media)

Report by the selection committee

Where lies the boundary between political information, critical debate and manipulation during political campaigns? A complicated and difficult question that the author of this thesis addresses in extremely lucid fashion. This study of the importance of ‘deliberation’ to democratic politics, and the question whether campaign techniques such as ‘framing’ and ‘spinning’ facilitate deliberation or hinder it, is tackled by Groen-Reijman in an original and interdisciplinary manner.

Applied areas of research are political psychology, political philosophy and political communication studies, a growing mountain of recent insights that the author deftly and effectively juggles. New campaign techniques are impartially examined, leading to surprising and more positive judgements than are customary in contemporary debate. The jury was struck by the original and balanced perspective, and suspects that Erasmus would have enjoyed reading this well-written discourse. After all, the detached gaze in this book is always accompanied by a manifest concern for the state of current Western democracies. That positions the book in an Erasmian tradition in which academic research informs and serves the public sphere.