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Updates from the Deliberative Democracy Consortium

Did you see the recent updates from the Deliberative Democracy Consortium? Our board member, Wendy Willis is the Executive Director of the DDC and they recently sent out a fantastic update on some things going on in the D&D network on their radar – including several notable articles, a review of the new book How Democracies Die, the Knight Foundation/Gallup poll’s survey results, and some upcoming events in the field. We encourage you to read the February updates below or find the original version on the DDC’s site here.

DDC February Bulletin

American Democracy at Risk
There is this report detailing risks to American democracy. Though it takes a fairly partisan stance, it has pretty good (and persuasive) list of six markers of a democracy in decline. You can guess what they are–everything from intentionally undermining independent institutions to delegitimizing immigrants and religious minorities.

And this from Ezra Klein in Vox highlighting the new book from Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How Democracies DieAs Klein puts it: “Of the book’s broad lessons, this is the one of most relevance to the United States in 2018: Democracies fend off challenges when participants value the preservation of the system — its norms and ideals and values — over short-term political gain.”

The Knight Foundation teamed up with Gallup on this report about why Americans’ trust in the media is at an all-time low. (Warning the animations are a little intense and potentially migraine-triggering).

Cake Mix, Economics, & Deliberation
Check out this fascinating critique of the use of focus groups and the “culture of consultation.” It’s a good one.

And there is this from the U.K., describing the Citizens’ Economic Council, a two-year program to engage citizens in deliberations on national economic policy.

Poets & Policy
Read this piece by Canada’s former Poet Laureate on “the constitutional assembly” he convened at University of British Columbia to propose amendments to the Constitution.

Better Late than Never
Somehow I missed David Weinberg’s response to Cass Sunstein’s recently updated book, #Republicin the Los Angeles Review of Books. The heart of Weinberg’s disagreement is here: “It may simply be time to give up on the Enlightenment ideal of discourse as the sole model and measure of human conversation.”  He also compellingly argues: “Most of all, we see a persistently noisy self-organizing and self-complicating mess that refuses to resolve, resulting in a web of inconsistent and simultaneous meanings. But this is not noise. It only sounds like noise outside of our own echo chambers.” The whole thing is worth a ready, though.  (Ditto Sunstein’s book!)

Our friends at George Mason University are hosting an event called Public Journalism & Deliberative Democracy: Exploring the Role of Narrative on March 5, 2018. Our very own Carolyn Lukensmeyer will offer the keynote. The event is all day and open to the public.

The peerless Frontiers of Democracy Conference will be held at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts on June 21-23, 2018. Head over to propose a session or reserve your spot!

You can find the original version of this bulletin on the DDC’s site at www.deliberative-democracy.net/2018/02/15/february-bulletin/.

Keiva Hummel
Keiva Hummel serves as NCDD’s Communications Coordinator. She graduated cum laude from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Communication Studies, Minor in Global Peace, Human Rights and Justice Studies, and a Certificate in Conflict Resolution Studies.

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