Hello Friends of Deliberative Democracy—

Holy smokes, life takes over.  But I’m glad to find you here, and happy Fall!  Here’s a good smattering of what’s going on out there in Deliberative Democracy Land:

Interesting Reading

The summer edition of Daedalus features thirteen essays on “The Prospects & Limits of Deliberative Democracy” (guest edited by Jane Mansbridge and James Fishkin). The actual journal is behind a paywall, but it’s very informative and provocative.  Consider this from the Fishkin/Mansbridge Introduction: “The root notion is that deliberation requires ‘weighing’ competing arguments for policies or candidates in a context of mutually civil and diverse discussion in which people can decide on the merits of arguments with good information. Is such a thing possible in an era of fake news, social media, and public discussions largely among the like-minded?” So, see if you can get your hands on it!

Around about Independence Day, Eitan Hersh stirred up the dust with an Op-Ed in the New York Times provocatively titled “The Problem with Participatory Democracy Is the Participants.” He stimulated quite a discussion in the community. My response here. The Times also ran this piece about a New Hampshire Town meeting, which argued that that form of deliberative decision-making is not “politics” at all. I wonder if some of you might have some things to say about that.

Here, in the Thailand portal of The Nation, Wichit Chaitrong relies on work in Tuscany to argue that deliberative democracy can restore trust in government.

There’s these two case studies on deliberative democracy “in emerging contexts,” in this instance, the Inaugural Pacific Feminist Forum in Fiji and in municipal governance in Nepal.

Then, this preliminary data on the effects of social media on deliberation.  Spoiler: if everyone’s in a bad mood all the time, it’s not good.

Our friend Hollie Russon Gilman makes the case for participatory budgeting over at New America.

And UVA Today highlights the work of Rachel Wahl, who asks: “Is the perceived rise of political activism limiting the use and impact of dialogue?”

And I love this piece about the relative quiet and loudness of (intentionally) slow deliberative systems, of democracy itself.


There is a DDC Research and Practice meeting scheduled for October 19 and 20 in Chicago. There are a very few seats still available . . .so contact me if you’re interested at wendywddc@gmail.com. (And our friends at Public Agenda are putting on a public engagement strategy training during the day of October 19, so you could do both!)

Also–even better–if either you are interested in becoming a member of DDC, also give me a shout at wendywddc@gmail.com

Stay in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you,