Category Archives: deliberation

the value of diversity and discussion within social movements

If you want a more deliberative society–one in which diverse people discuss and learn before (and while) they act politically–you’re not going to accomplish it simply by promoting deliberation. Too many people are understandably motivated by specific agendas, and too … Continue reading

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closing remarks at the Bridge Alliance summit

(Posted by request: my remarks at the close of the 2018 Bridge Alliance Members Summit, a convening of “more than 90 respected established organizations committed to revitalizing democratic practice in America,” Washington, DC, Oct 17.) I’ve been asked to offer some reflections … Continue reading

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the Massachusetts Citizens’ Initiative Review

[Press Release] – A 20-person panel of voters convened by the Massachusetts Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) pilot project has released its Citizens’ Statement on Question 1, the ballot question on nurse staffing limits. The Citizens’ Statement is intended to assist … Continue reading

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civility: not too much, not too little

This is the summer for critiques of civility as a virtue or goal. See, for instance, the Color of Change video entitled “Civility Will Not Save Us,” or Tavia Nyong’o’s and Kyla Wazana Tompkins’ argument that “the accusation of incivility is a technique … Continue reading

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deliberation or simulated deliberation? choices for the classroom

In an article published today (“Deliberation or Simulated Deliberation?” in Democracy and Education, 26, 1, Article 7), I respond to a valuable previous piece by Margaret S. Crocco and her colleagues, “Deliberating Public Policy Issues with Adolescents: Classroom Dynamics and Sociocultural Considerations.” … Continue reading

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from I to we: an outline of a theory

These are the main ideas that I’ve defended (or plan to develop) in my theoretical scholarship. They are organized from micro to macro and from ethics to politics. As always, I put this draft online to welcome critical feedback. Each … Continue reading

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Nicole Doerr, Political Translation: How Social Movement Democracies Survive

A century ago, Robert Michels observed what he called the “Iron Law of Oligarchy” at work in the socialist and revolutionary labor parties and movements of Europe. He argued that these groups provided “the best field of observation” for the … Continue reading

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analyzing Donald Trump’s speech patterns

Just before the 2016 presidential election, I wrote: Donald Trump’s speaking style is extraordinarily paratactic. That is, he utters declarative sentences without any of the explicit transitional words that can explain why sentences fit together. No “therefore’s,” “on the other hand’s,” … Continue reading

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watching democratic cultures decline

Yesterday, I offered some evidence that broad public deliberation declines when authoritarianism rises. I used data Varieties of Democracy, which asks 2,800 experts questions about specific countries in specific years. For this purpose, I’ll define “authoritarianism” as a system that … Continue reading

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authoritarianism and deliberative democracy

The Varieties of Democracy project asks 2,800 experts many questions about specific countries in specific years. One question is “When important policy changes are being considered, how wide and how independent are public deliberations?” The scale ranges from zero (“Public … Continue reading

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