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Posts with the Tag “theory”

Talking Together: Public Deliberation and Political Participation in America

Challenging the conventional wisdom that Americans are less engaged than ever in national life and the democratic process, the 2009 book Talking Together, authored by Lawrence R. Jacobs, Fay Lomax Cook, and Michael X. Delli Carpini, paints a comprehensive portrait of public deliberation in the United States and explains why it is important to America’s future. The authors’ original and extensive research reveals how, when, and why citizens talk to each other about the issues of the day. They find that—in settings ranging from one-on-one conversations […] (continue)

Deliberative Democracy’s Attempt to Turn Politics into Law

Drawing on an example of President Bush's decision as to whether or not to fund stem cell research, the author explores what it takes to make a possible constituency-altering decision for politicians. A multitude of factors go into the mix for the decision, including who is involved in the public in the debate and how those people turnout to vote in the election. The author goes on to look at the feelings of Americans in times of crisis and the leaders' actions in response. (continue)

Ladder of Inference

The "ladder of inference" concept explains why most people don't usually remember where their deepest attitudes came from. The data is long since lost to memory, after years of inferential leaps. Being aware of the ladder of inference enables peopel to improve their communications and thinking by (1) becoming more aware of your own thinking and reasoning (reflection); making your thinking and reasoning more visible to others (advocacy); and inquiring into others' thinking and reasoning (inquiry). (continue)

Civic Innovation in America: Community Empowerment, Public Policy and the Movement for Civic Renewal

This book is a scholarly examination of the civic renewal movement that has emerged in the United States in recent decades. In contrast to some recent studies that stress broad indicators of civic decline, this study analyzes innovation as a long process of social learning within specific institutional and policy domains with complex challenges and cross-currents. The study is based upon interviews with more than 400 innovative practitioners, as well as extensive field observation, case study, action research and historical analysis. (continue)

Discourse Categories in Encounters Between Palestinians and Israelis

The discourse in encounter groups between Jewish and Palestinian Israeli citizens was analyzed to investigate factors that promoted or hindered understanding between conflict groups. A typology of seven categories, ordered on a scale from monologues that do not meet to affective and cognitive understanding, was used. A histogram presented percents of speech categories per encounter. Qualitative and quantitative methods exposed factors influencing group processes. Changes in speech categories were chaotic, as opposed to linear. Analysis showed an interaction between the pressure of the conflict reality outside and the internal group process. This article addresses the theoretical question of the goal of intergroup encounters. (continue)

Face-To-Face at Arm's Length: Conflict Norms and Extra-Group Relations in Grassroots Dialogue Groups

Research has shown that internal relations in small groups are affected by members' relationship to the external world and the extent to which groups focus their efforts on extra-group relations. This article describes the conflict norms used to manage intra-group relations by members of a grassroots dialogue group in the U.S. whose members - US Jews, Palestinians, and others - came together to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (continue)

Uncertainty Reduction Theory

Uncertainty reduction theory (URT) was initially presented as a series of axioms (universal truths which do not require proof and theorems (propositions assumed to be true) which describe the relationships between uncertainty and several communication factors. URT was developed to describe the interrelationships between seven important factors in any dyadic exchange: verbal communication, nonverbal expressiveness, information-seeking behavior, intimacy, reciprocity, similarity, and liking. This theoretical perspective was originated by C.R. Berger and Calabrese in 1975; they drew on the work of Heider (1952). (continue)

Accountable Autonomy: Participatory Deliberation in Urban Governance

The author examines the Chicago reforms to derive lessons about the institutional designs, politics, and public policies that can establish the direct and deliberative channels of participation for ordinary citizens in the governance of complex common issues. As a rich source to expand theory and practice, the organization of educational and police governance in Chicago differs from that of other cities, and indeed from conventional accounts of participatory democracy. (continue)

Systems Theory

System theory is basically concerned with problems of relationships, of structures, and of interdependence, rather than with the constant attributes of object (Katz and Kahn, 1966). Webster defines a system as a "regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole," which "is in, or tends to be in, equilibrium". Negandi says that "a system's attributes, which are the interdependence and interlinking of various subsystems within a given system, and the tendency toward attaining a balance, or equilibrium forces one to think in terms of multiple causation in contrast to the common habit of thinking in single-cause terms." (continue)

Evaluating Public-Participation Exercises: A Research Agenda

The concept of public participation is one of growing interest in the UK and elsewhere, with a commensurate growth in mechanisms to enable this. The merits of participation, however, are difficult to ascertain, as there are relatively few cases in which the effectiveness of participation exercises have been studied in a structured (as opposed to highly subjective) manner. This seems to stem largely from uncertainty in the research community as to how to conduct evaluations. In this article, one agenda for conducting evaluation research that might lead to the systematic acquisition of knowledge is presented. (continue)