Dr. Lyn Carson distinguishes between Counterpublics and minipublics:
Deliberation pertains to minipublics, not counterpublics:
Collective action is usually birthed in “oppositional consciousness” which is converted to “counterpublics” — i.e. a public that is created outside what we commonly think of as a public. Such counterpublic has a specific sets of interests that differ from the general interest and for which it tries to find influence.
But “minipublics are microcosms of the wider public — a sample (often a random sample) brought together to deliberate to show what the wider public would decide if given access to the information which a minipublic receives, and indicating what the wider public would think if given similar opportunities for deliberation."
Lyn Carson writes that "Deliberations are conversations that matter because they work methodically toward consensus, attempt to build common ground, with an eye to the public interest, rather than self interest. The quality, the depth of these conversations is important and a great deal of effort is expended by convenors, or deliberative designers, to create respectful, educational, purposeful, egalitarian spaces."
(source: L. Carson, Sydney Democracy Forum: The Democratic Deficit and Australia 29 June 2007  )