Deliberative Democracy Consortium conference on whether deliberation is feasible

From this official registration page:

On October 30 and 31, the Deliberative Democracy Consortium is convening researchers, scholars, and deliberative democracy practitioners in Washington, D.C., to explore the intersection of deliberative democracy with human cognition, social and emotional intelligence, and moral decision making.

We will explore questions such as:

1) Given what we know about human cognition and moral development, is deliberative democracy feasible?

2) At what scale?

3) Under what conditions?

This meeting will give scholars, practitioners, funders, and others an opportunity to explore both the promise and the limitations of deliberative democracy in the context of human behavior and development. The meeting may result in an edited volume; future convenings; an action plan; a statement of shared values; promising partnerships; etc.

Agenda

Evening of Wednesday, October 30 – 5:00pm – Reception with no host bar and heavy hors d’oeuvres

Thursday, October 31 – 9:00am – 4:00pm – All day meeting – Continental breakfast (8:30am) and lunch included

I’ll be moderating a panel. Part of our session description (still under construction) says:

The traditional “civics class” description of democracy assumes that citizens reason independently about issues, listen to and learn from each other, and then select leaders or policies that represent their views. It is consistent with liberal democratic tenets of individual and minority rights, free speech and the rule of law. 

The Behavioral Revolution presents a very different premise: human beings are deeply biased, and the reasons we express are mainly justifications for opinions we already held without conscious choice. Meanwhile, New Institutionalism suggests that even when individuals reason well, the processes that yield decisions in groups add arbitrariness and bias. These are two of the most influential currents in the study of human beings, and both tend to support arguments for expertise and unregulated markets, technocracy, or authoritarianism. Specifically, right-wing authoritarian populism is on the rise.  …

How can deliberative democracy address these problems of citizen capacity and the consequent vulnerability of liberal democracy?

Please join us.

About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.
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