The Deliberative Democracy Consortium

Mar 30th
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Home Workshops Sydney 2011 What are the latest developments?

What are the latest developments?

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For the workshop, the first question we'd like your feedback on is:

- What are the most recent developments (exciting or disappointing) in deliberative democracy?

(These could be examples from the field, or new publications or research reports, or media coverage - or something else entirely. You tell us!)

Comments (6) (sent to twitter)

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understanding the state of the field and its role in advancing deliberation in a wide variety of contexts
I (Caroline Lee) conducted a survey of dialogue and deliberation practitioners with Francesca Polletta in 2009. The results of this survey are available here:
While the emphasis of this conference and most research is (quite rightly) on improving deliberative processes themselves, I would love to see members of the field engage with the more reflexive question of the challenges and opportunities the field itself faces in achieving democratic reform, based on research like mine, that of Lyn Carson and Carolyn Hendriks, and that of Matt Leighninger. For example, how will an aging practitioner corps that is predominantly liberal and female attract new members to its ranks? How will the D&D field interface with other fields (transparency, social justice, community organizing, etc.) pursuing democracy reform? These aren't "new developments" but they speak to future prospects for expanding the processes that practitioners care so deeply about.
Caroline Lee , 04 Feb 2011 11:03 PM
Director, the Democracy Imperative
Colleges and universities are taking DD pretty seriously -- new courses and programs, embedding DD across the curriculum, more discussion-based learning, forums on campus for civil discourse and public participation, more attentiveness to reciprocal community-university partnerships. Even the US Department of Education is interested in "civic learning and democratic engagement." Stay tuned!
Nancy Thomas , 04 Feb 2011 09:55 AM
Add success stories to @Participedia
@Denise Please consider adding your project to Participedia (, a wiki aimed at collecting and evaluating examples of "participatory governance throughout the world".
Tim Bonnemann , 02 Feb 2011 02:29 AM
Participatory Democracy and Public Education
I recently worked on a Citizens' Forum in Hamilton, Canada where we drew a group of citizens from a randomly generated pool of local residents to deliberate on a property tax issue. Everyone involved with the process found it to be a great way of involving citizens in a public policy discussion. Some of the local media have come on board but generally speaking there is a low level of awareness of what transpired. We have a number of new converts to the "cause" so to speak.

I believe that if we are to transform democracy through such innovative practices, it is going to have to happen one public consultation at a time - until we reach a critical mass such that this process becomes legitimate and expected. My question is how do we (the royal 'we', that is) build the momentum we need to carry us to that future?
Denise O'Connor , 02 Feb 2011 12:55 AM
NCDD Resource Guide on Public Engagement
Last fall as a bonus to those attending our 5 regional NCDD (National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation) events, we pulled together a pretty nice Resource Guide on Public Engagement, which can be downloaded at . It features NCDD's best collaboratively-created public engagement tools, as well as a lot of the great work that has been done by others in our field.
Sandy Heierbacher , 28 Jan 2011 10:06 PM
Healthy Democracy Oregon is an exciting project to watch
I'm asking this question to the NCDD community (at and in our facebook group) and hope to share some of their insights here soon. One unique innovation that might not be so well known internationally is Healthy Democracy Oregon's Citizen Initiative Review. It's the first time a model of deliberative democracy relying upon random sampling has ever been legislatively empowered and directly tied to an election in this way in the U.S.

I'm sure John Gastil will be sharing much more about the project, as he's been working closely with HDO as a research partner. But we have a nice summary of the project and a good discussion about it posted at if you're interested.
Sandy Heierbacher , 28 Jan 2011 10:02 PM

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