Public participation is an increasingly common pathway for democratizing policymaking, but it is often executed in only symbolic and perfunctory ways. To reach its full potential as a method for empowering society in the policymaking process, public participation should foremost be viewed as legitimate by participants. This article empirically examines public participation through three types of legitimacy – representative, process, and influence – that give the exercise democratic effect. The case context, energy policy in northern Thailand as part of the country’s regional energy development plan, is an instructive example of public participation that has been newly introduced into a policy system characterized by top-down centralization. This study documents the degree to which a ‘design thinking’ approach for participatory mechanisms helps produce policy input that reflects the concerns and ambitions of local stakeholders. The findings offer lessons for how legitimacy can be a pathway for public participation to support energy democracy. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd.
CitationChaiyapa, W., Hartley, K., & del Barrio Alvarez, D. (2021). From end-users to policy designers: Breaking open the black box of energy technocracy in Thailand. Energy Research & Social Science, 73. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2021.101912
- Energy democracy
- Regional energy policy
- Public participation
- Public policy