Category Archives: deliberation

what makes conversation go well (a network model)

I’m looking forward to presenting later today at NULab’s first annual conference, on the theme: “Keeping the Public Sphere Open.” I think of the “public sphere” as all the venues where people come together to share experiences, emotions, and reasons in … Continue reading

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assessing the congressional town meeting protests, 2009 and 2017

In 2009, when Democratic House members went home to discuss the Affordable Care Act with their constituents, they faced disruptive questions and protests, often from people loosely affiliated with the Tea Party. The protesters cited such supposed evils as Death … Continue reading

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the question of sacrifice in politics

(Atlanta, en route to Starkville, MS) Sacrifice can be a political act; often politics requires it. Sacrifice would be unnecessary in an ideal society and pointless in a completely static one; but in an unjust society that is subject to … Continue reading

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the verdict on the Massachusetts Citizens Initiative Review

Last summer, working with Healthy Democracy and the office of State Rep. Jonathan Hecht, we at the Tisch College of Civic Life organized the first Citizens Initiative Review in Massachusetts. A representative group of citizens deliberated intensively about a pending ballot initiative … Continue reading

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Trump’s rhetorical style and deliberation

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,” or even “well, I think’s.” He just … Continue reading

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A New Model for Citizen Engagement

Myung J. Lee, the executive director of Cities of Service, and I have an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review that is free to read or download until November 17. We define citizen engagement as a combination of deliberation (communicating and … Continue reading

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a reason for hope: the Citizens Initiative Review

(Posted from DC) The Massachusetts 2016 Citizens Initiative Review just concluded. Twenty randomly selected citizens spent four full days hearing testimony and intensively deliberating to write a statement meant to inform Massachusetts voters about the pending marijuana legalization referendum. Tufts’ … Continue reading

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Massachusetts Citizens Initiative Review: the movie

At Tufts’ Tisch College of Civic Life, we are working with State Rep. Jonathan Hecht and Healthy Democracy to bring the Citizens Initiative Review to our commonwealth this summer. I’ve blogged about the project already, but this 2-minute video by Suffolk student … Continue reading

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Everyday Democracy: racism, policing, and community change

At this moment, I am especially grateful to serve on the board for Everyday Democracy, which works at the intersection of deliberative democracy, community organizing, and anti-racism. The organization has deep experience with “dialogue and action” efforts that “address community-police relations.” They … Continue reading

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saving relational politics

In the June edition of Perspectives on Politics, I have an article entitled “Saving Relational Politics“* I review Caroline W. Lee’s Do-It-Yourself Democracy: The Rise of the Public Engagement Industry and Josh Lerner’s Making Democracy Fun: How Game Design Can Empower … Continue reading

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