When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy and Public Consultation

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Oxford University Press, 2011 - Political Science - 236 pages
All over the world democratic reforms have brought power to the people - but under conditions where the people have little opportunity to think about the power that they exercise. Do we want a democracy inspired by Madison or by Madison Avenue? A democracy animated by deliberation or bymanipulation? This book examines each of the principal democratic theories and makes the case for a democracy in which the people offer informed judgments about politics or policy. It then goes on to show how this form of democracy can be made a reality. When the People Speak describes deliberativedemocracy projects conducted by the author with various collaborators in the US, China, Britain, Denmark, Australia, Italy, Bulgaria, Northern Ireland, and in the entire European Union. These projects have resulted in the massive expansion of wind power in Texas, the building of sewage treatmentplants in China, the crafting of budget solutions in a region in Italy, and greater mutual understanding between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. Critics of deliberative democracy say that it will privilege the more educated or that the public is incompetent when it comes tounderstanding policy issues, and should not be consulted. Others argue that it will increase polarization. Fishkin offers rebuttals for each of these arguments. Combining theory and practice he shows how a more deliberative politics is both practical and compelling.
 

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Contents

1 Democratic Aspirations
1
2 The Trilemma of Democratic Reform
32
3 Competing Visions
65
4 Making Deliberative Democracy Practical
95
5 Making Deliberation Consequential
106
6 Deliberating Under Difficult Conditions
159
Notes
201
Index
229
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About the author (2011)

James S. Fishkin is author of a number of books including Democracy and Deliberation (1991), The Dialogue of Justice (1992 ), The Voice of the People: Public Opinion and Democracy (1995), Deliberation Day (with Bruce Ackerman, 2004). His Deliberative Polling process has been conducted incountries ranging from China and Bulgaria to Denmark, Britain, Australia, Italy, Hungary, and the US. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford and the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. He has also been Visiting FellowCommoner at Trinity College, Cambridge. He holds both a PhD in Political Science from Yale and a PhD in Philosophy from Cambridge. He holds the Janet M. Peck Chair in International Communication at Stanford University where he teaches Communication and Political Science and Directs the Center forDeliberative Democracy.

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