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Future Directions for Public Deliberation

This final chapter of The Deliberative Democracy Handbook: Strategies for effective civic engagement in the twenty-first century (pp. 271-288), was published in the Journal for Public Deliberation in 2005. The chapter was co-authored by Peter Levine of the University of Maryland (now at Tufts), Archon Fung of Harvard University’s Kennedy School, and John Gastil of the University of Washington (now at Penn State).

This final chapter begins by briefly reviewing the most consistent and encouraging findings across the many different cases reviewed in this volume. Levine, Fung, and Gastil then identify difficulties that confront those practicing deliberation. Persistent challenges include balancing unity and disagreement, ensuring effective organization and facilitation, conducting deliberation on larger scales, and influencing decision makers.

As deliberation becomes more influential, practitioners should also take care to preserve the integrity of the deliberative process. After identifying important research question for the future, the chapter concludes by discussing contexts that require a period of exploratory dialogue before beginning more solution-oriented deliberation. The authors suggest that some controversial issues may require what they call cultural accommodation. If deliberation can successfully reach across cultural divides, it may even become an appropriate mode for addressing international issues such as trade and terrorism.

Resource Link: http://www.publicdeliberation.net/jpd/vol1/iss1/art3/

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