Category Archives: deliberation

why the deliberative democracy framework doesn’t quite work for me

In some ways, I came of age in the field of deliberative democracy. I had an internship at the Kettering Foundation when I was a college sophomore (when the foundation defined itself more purely in deliberative terms than it does … Continue reading

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assessment criteria for participation in a seminar

Thinking that I should be explicit about how I define good participation in a seminar that I’m teaching, I circulated these eight criteria: Being responsive to other students. (Responsiveness needn’t always be immediate, verbal, or occur within the class discussion … Continue reading

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deliberation depends on social movements

Why would people deliberate? Here I’ll argue that citizens will only come together to exchange reasons if they are empowered to make decisions. In turn, it often takes a social movement to  change institutions so that any particular group of … Continue reading

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so, you want to strengthen democracy?

This year’s Frontiers of Democracy conference explored a set of analytical tools that may be useful if you want to improve or defend democracy: You should decide where you stand on the current crisis in American democracy (which is mirrored in many … Continue reading

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how to get a deliberative democracy

The annual Frontiers of Democracy conference ended on Saturday–and my thanks to the 150 dedicated and skillful participants. It’s billed as a gathering of people committed to various forms of democratic reform, but it tends to draw colleagues from one … Continue reading

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saving Habermas from the deliberative democrats

“God save me from the Marxists”–attributed to Karl Marx Jürgen Habermas is often presented as the master theorist of deliberative democracy, the author who believes that a society should approximate an “ideal speech situation” in which “the only force is the … Continue reading

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Habermas, Ostrom, Gandhi (II)

(Santa Monica, CA) On Monday, I posted an argument that three traditions of theory and practice provide what we need for a civic theory, which is a theory of what we should do. It is different from a political theory that asks what should … Continue reading

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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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