(Dayton, OH) I strongly recommend Democracy in Motion: Evaluating the Practice and Impact of Deliberative Civic Engagement (Oxford University Press, 2012), edited by Tina Nabatchi, John Gastil, G. Michael Weiksner, and Matt Leighninger.
The authors address most of the basic questions for the field of deliberative democracy, including “Who Deliberates?, “How People Communicate During Deliberative Events,” “Does Deliberation Make Better Citizens?” and the impact of deliberation on communities and on policy.
The idea for this volume was cooked up–appropriately–in a deliberative meeting of scholars and practitioners that I participated in. One of the priorities that the whole group selected was to write a multi-authored book covering the fundamental issues of the field. It is exciting to see that this collaboratively-developed idea is now an Oxford University Press book. It really is the “state-of-the art” and offers, in my opinion, the most comprehensive coverage of many basic topics. For instance, I’ve noted that there isn’t much research on how people actually reason in public settings (what kinds of arguments they offer and respond to), but Laura W. Black has a very helpful chapter on just that topic.