The Deliberative Democracy Consortium

Mar 30th
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Home Workshops Sydney 2011 Research Proposals Deliberation at its best - learning from different cultural contexts

Deliberation at its best - learning from different cultural contexts

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Champions: Karen Cronin, with input from John Dryzek, Kennie Carbon, John Gastil, Michael Cuthill, Mark Warren

Partners confirmed: Dr Jessica Hutchins (indigenous researcher), Dennie Carbon (local gov't)

This research would require an international team  to develop an appreciation of best practices in deliberation--drawing out the norms, experiences, forms and practices found in a range of cultures in different parts of the world. The focus would be on deliberation i.e. forms of engagement that allow for effective exploration of the dimensions of an issue or proposal, draw on best available knowledge, assess and weigh options, come to a robust conclusion, etc. Requires an 'a priori' view of 'best practice' deliberation -- which could be drawn from practices in a range of cultures/research team participants. It would then identify practices, models, innovations in different cultural settings that have the potential to inform D&D practice and theory internationally.

Notes: Builds on existing studies e.g. World Wide Views COP Copenhagen, Kettering/IAP2 "Painting the Landscape" which surveyed and described different cultures and interrogate that information to focus on the deliberative dimensions that are present/absent in different settings. One element or principle of best practice deliberation, for example, would be the status of participants (inclusion/exclusion-effect on deliberative quality)

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comparative research methods
The problem here is not identification of a set of a priori criteria for quality as there is plenty of research pointing in this direction (e.g., inclusion/exclusion, as you note). And case studies of best practices can be very useful. But comparative deliberation research focused only on best practices selects on the dependent variable of "success" (however success is defined). In order to understand why some processes fail and others succeed, comparison of similar types of projects with different outcomes is necessary. Comparison of different projects with similar outcomes is unlikely to yield the analytical leverage to identify conditions for success.
Caroline Lee , 04 Feb 2011 10:47 PM

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