The Deliberative Democracy Consortium

Mar 27th
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Home Workshops Frontiers of Democracy Frontiers of Democracy: Neutrality

Frontiers of Democracy: Neutrality

Conference Track 2

The "neutrality" challenge: Concerns over neutrality challenge educators and practitioners alike. In public life, the question is how to balance the commitment to a politically neutral process with the desire to achieve more equitable outcomes. In the classroom, the question is how to present all perspectives on an issue yet take a definitive stance in an effort to educate for democracy. What are the politics of neutrality, on campus and in public life?

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Skilled facilitation

Good skilled facilitation and convening can mitigate some tensions.

Study the issues

Study the issues, including facts, history, context, data.

Build capacity to wrestle with values

Part of the task is building capacity and skills to wrestle with values and tensions.

Multiple diverse perpectives throughout

Include multiple, diverse perspectives throughout.

Inclusion at multiple process points

Focus on inclusion at multiple points of a process (topic selection, process design, framing, facilitation, convening, etc.).

Choice of language

Be mindful of our choice of language, as potentially exclusive and/or compelling.

Design around clear goals

Be clear and explicit and transparent about goals, and design the process to match those goals. The process flows from the purpose.

Ground processes in the community

Processes should be grounded in the words and perspectives of the community.