This booklet, published by registered charity the Dialogue Society in 2013, brings together key insights and recommendations from a series of discussions exploring the role and value of dialogue and considering how its quality might be improved and its reach extended. The discussions brought together dialogue professionals, religious leaders, conflict resolution specialists, academics and other professionals with a wealth of relevant experience, to tackle questions such as the following:
- Does dialogue really extend beyond the tea-fuelled self-congratulation of a few liberal religious believers?
- Does it have any real social effects, and could any such effects be augmented?
- How can it reach beyond the sympathetic to those whose attitudes and behaviour are an actual threat to peace and social cohesion?
The resource comprises short articles on each of the discussions and an extensive list of practical recommendations, some taken from the discussions and some based on Dialogue Society experience. It is intended to be a contribution to an ongoing dialogue on dialogue and to the sharing of best practice.
Resource Link: www.dialoguesociety.org/publications.html (free download)
This resource was submitted by Frances Sleap of The Dialogue Society via our Add-A-Resource form.
ConsiderIt is an open source platform that combines the virtues of personal reflection and public deliberation.
ConsiderIt helps individuals make sense of complex issues through familiar deliberative activities. People can sort out their own thoughts by taking stances, weighing pros and cons and browsing key points made both others. ConsiderIt makes it easy for contributors to make their voices heard and find others who share their views.
ConsiderIt’s structured approach to deliberation also helps decrease polarization and establish common ground. It nudges people towards considering tradeoffs by presenting them with ideas that resonate with a broad spectrum of their peers. And it surfaces points of agreement and potential compromise, letting contributors and organizations focus their energy on meaningful engagement and productive collaboration. (more…)
Many people are reluctant to discuss politics across party lines. This 4-page guide entitled Reaching Out Across the Red Blue Divide, One Person at a Time (available for download in PDF format) by PCP Associate and NCDD member Maggie Herzig is a step-by-step approach to inviting one other person—someone whose perspectives differ from your own—into a conversation, focusing on developing a better understanding of each other’s perspectives. Here’s an excerpt from the guide…
Why bother to reach across the divide?
Many people have at least one important relationship that has been frayed by painful conversations about political differences or constrained due to fear of divisiveness. What alternatives are there? You can let media pundits and campaign strategists tell you that polarization is inevitable and hopeless. Or you can consider taking a collaborative journey with someone who is important to you, neither paralyzed with fear of the rough waters, nor unprepared for predictable strong currents.
You and your conversational partner will be best prepared if you bring 1) shared hopes for the experience, 2) the intention to work as a team, and 3) a good map that has guided others on similar journeys.
We hope this guide will help prepare you to speak about your passions and concerns in ways that can be heard, and to hear others’ concerns and passions with new empathy and understanding—even if you continue to disagree.
Resource Link: www.publicconversations.org/pcp/docs/resources/red_blue.pdf
OpenGrounds programs, places and people are catalysts for forward-looking research and curricular initiatives that will redefine the public research university for the new millennium. The fundamental changes that are taking place globally reflect an unprecedented speed of technological and social transformation. They are coupled with the explosive impact of new models of thought and tools for understanding that suggest parallels with the Renaissance in Europe and the rise of global industrialization. (more…)
This April 2013 paper Rachel Burstein of the New America Foundation it subtitled “Understanding local government innovation and how it spreads.”
The term “innovation” is often applied to products emerging from the private sector. When innovation is discussed in the context of government, commentators generally concentrate on achievements at the federal level. The popular press rarely devotes attention to innovation in local government, or examines innovation as a process, rather than an output. Yet cities and counties have the capacity to engage and impact wide sectors of the public through innovative policies, practices and programs; many are already doing just that. In order to encourage the spread of new approaches to address existing community need, local government staffers, elected officials, third parties that serve them, and researchers must have a deeper understanding of how innovation is perceived and pursued in cities and counties. (more…)
This 10-page essay by Stephen D. Konieczka, Ph.D, Educator and researcher at the University of Colorado, was written for the University of AZ’s National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD). After the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, NICD called for essays to address the challenges of conducting constructive conversations about gun violence in the U.S. As part of their mission, NICD seeks to promote civil discourse on issues of public interest and does not take a policy position on gun violence or gun control but is committed to encouraging a civil discussion.
Dr. Konieczka’s work focuses on socio-cultural talk and discourses of democratic governance, participatory politics, and community development. In this essay, Dr. Konieczka addressess the historically consistent causes and consequences of everyday gun violence.
Articulation of the Question
Can the U.S. sustain a reasoned and responsible conversation about the cause and consequences of violence with guns? Below, I examine how early weapons prohibitions in the U.S. responded to concerns that mirror antecedents of contemporary violence with guns; how those constants reflect cultural dispositions towards aggression in American culture and communication practices; and what those facts portended for civil discourse(s) about violence with guns in the U.S. In light of those discussions, the essay concludes by considering opportunities and challenges to fostering, focusing, and facilitating civil discourse(s) about everyday violence with guns. (more…)
This article addresses why it is so difficult for our country to navigate the issue of gun violence and contains suggestions for starting a national conversation. It was written by Sarah Read and Dave Overfelt, both of The Communications Center, Inc. in Columbia, MO with funding from the University of AZ’s National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD). After the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, NICD called for essays to address the challenges of conducting constructive conversations about gun violence in the U.S. As part of their mission, NICD seeks to promote civil discourse on issues of public interest and does not take a policy position on gun violence or gun control but is committed to encouraging a civil discussion.
Articulation of the Question
What can we do to mitigate fear, anger, and misinformation in order to build the trust necessary to navigate dialogue on the difficult issue of gun violence?
Facilitators often say “Go slow to go fast” and that is good advice here. We need to dig deeper and aim higher in structuring our public conversations about gun violence if we are to make progress. (more…)
The Centre for Public Involvement was proposed in 2009 as a unique partnership between the City of Edmonton and University of Alberta. It was proposed in response to a demonstrated and recognized need for decision-makers and the public to actively seek, consider and apply the most effective means for public involvement. The collaboration is designed to advance research and learning in the area of public involvement, with the objective of enhanced decision-making at all levels. The organization and governance framework established by the partnering organizations draws on the unique expertise of each, establishing an environment where creative cooperation facilitates public involvement results beyond what is possible via single entity endeavours. (more…)
Thinking about reasoning suffers from a failure of vision. Philosophers, social scientists, and others who discuss and analyze reasoning have a particular activity in view: reasoning to figure things out, solve problems, and reach judgments. But there is a different activity we engage in that we call reasoning. We reason in the course of living together, when we are responsive to those with whom we live and neither commanding nor deferring to them, neither manipulating nor ignoring them. Analysis of this second kind of activity has relied on the tools and frameworks developed to make sense of the first kind of activity.
In this book (Oxford University Press, 2012), Anthony Simon Laden invites his readers to approach this activity of reasoning on its own terms. He claims that if we are to truly see and appreciate the role and value of reasoning in living together, we need a new, social picture of the activity of reasoning. According to the social picture of reasoning developed here, reasoning is a species of conversation, and like casual conversation is social and ongoing. It is neither defined nor determined by its end, although it is governed by a set of characteristic norms. It consists of inviting others to accept that our words can speak for them as well. Reasoning: A Social Picture proposes an attractive new approach to thinking about how to live together, reasonably. (more…)