Tiny House
More About The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation • Join Now!
Community News

Reflective Structured Dialogue: A Dialogic Approach to Peacebuilding

Public Conversations Project, in coordination with the Interfaith Mediation Centre in Nigeria and UMass Boston, created this 76-page dialogue guide, Reflective Structured Dialogue: A Dialogic Approach to Peacebuilding (2015), authored by Dave Joseph MSW and Interfaith Mediation Centre. This effort developed this faith-based "hybrid" dialogue model to facilitate peacebuilding efforts between Muslims and Christians, which stemmed from two years of collaboration between four organizations in Nigeria. From Public Conversations Project

FNeverAgainNigeriaunded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), it was developed and field-tested in northern Nigeria, a region long plagued by identity-based rifts in its social fabric.

The goal of the hybrid model was to blend peacebuilding approaches in a way that offers Scriptural inspiration and support for coexistence and community-building. The hybrid model draws upon Scripture, family systems theory and other approaches to offer specific guidelines, techniques and practices that can help bridge divides of religious, ethnic and other kinds of identity.

This hybrid model represents an integration of these two approaches which has been specifically designed for use within the Nigerian cultural context; however, it is intended to be applicable within many other cultural contexts where faith is a critical factor, and identity differences divide a population, resulting in community rupture or violence.

Download the full guide here. More About Public Conversations Project Public Conversations Project fosters constructive conversation where there is conflict driven by differences in identity, beliefs, and values. We work locally, nationally, and globally to provide dialogue facilitation, training, consultation, and coaching. We help groups reduce stereotyping and polarization while deepening trust and collaboration and strengthening communities. Follow on Twitter: @pconversations More About Interfaith Mediation Centre Faith is what we recognize in Interfaith Mediation Centre (IMC) and interfaith coexistence towards a developed society free of violent ethno-religious and socio political conflict. To create a peaceful society through non- violent and strategic engagements in Nigeria and beyond.  Resource Link: www.publicconversations.org/resource/hybrid-model

Inclusion, Equality, and Discourse Quality in Citizen Deliberations on Broadband

The 24-page case study, Inclusion, Equality, and Discourse Quality in Citizen Deliberations on Broadband (2015) published by  Soo-Hye Han, William Schenck-Hamlin, and Donna Schenck-Hamlin in the Journal of Public Deliberation: Vol. 11: Iss. 1. The study is based on a program of Kansas library forums on broadband telecommunications policy. It explores the theories versus realities of public deliberation, in regards, to participant inclusion, equality and the quality of discourse. From the Abstract
Proponents of deliberative democracy have theorized that in order to contribute to improved decision-making, citizens should aim for high levels of inclusion, participation equality, and reciprocal, rational reasoning when they convene to discuss policy issues. To measure the extent to which these goals are achieved in actual practice, the authors analyzed transcripts from 13 public forums on the topic of broadband access in rural communities. Demographic attributes of participants were compared with their utterances during deliberation, coded by five quality variables: justification rationality, common good orientation, constructive politics, interactivity, and consideration of trade-offs. Analysis showed that turnout, quantity and quality of discourse varied significantly across different socioeconomic groups. For example, individuals with college education were more likely to provide higher levels of justification, alternative and mediating proposals, and consideration of the common good compared to those without college education. Non-salaried participants expressed the lowest level of justification for their arguments and showed significantly less interactivity with other participants. Addressing these differences requires greater effort by forum organizers to prepare participants through repeated, sequential forum experiences.
Download the case study from the Journal of Public Deliberation here. About the Journal of Public DeliberationJournal of Public Deliberation Spearheaded by the Deliberative Democracy Consortium in collaboration with the International Association of Public Participation, the principal objective of Journal of Public Deliberation (JPD) is to synthesize the research, opinion, projects, experiments and experiences of academics and practitioners in the emerging multi-disciplinary field and political movement called by some “deliberative democracy.” By doing this, we hope to help improve future research endeavors in this field and aid in the transformation of modern representative democracy into a more citizen friendly form. Follow the Deliberative Democracy Consortium on Twitter: @delibdem Follow the International Association of Public Participation [US] on Twitter: @IAP2USA Resource Link: www.publicdeliberation.net/jpd/vol11/iss1/art3/

Medicare and Medicaid (NIFI Issue Guide)

The National Issues Forums Institute published this 16-page Issue Guide, Medicare and Medicaid, in 2015. This guide is to help facilitate deliberation around the health-care choices. From the guide... NIFI_medicareNearly everybody will, at some point, get sick and need the help of health-care professionals. Finding the resources to cover these public programs is an ever-increasing challenge at a time when our national debt is at an all-time high. Ultimately, all Americans—policymakers as well as citizens—will have to face painful decisions about reducing the cost. This may mean fewer choices in health care for the tens of millions of people enrolled in these programs. The choices are difficult; the stakes, enormous. The guide presents three options for deliberation: Option One: "Do What It Takes to Maintain Our Commitment" Keeping the programs solvent may mean higher taxes for workers and companies, or raising the age of eligibility for Medicare. It could mean asking Medicaid patients to share the cost of their coverage. We need to do what is necessary to continue the commitment even if that costs everyone more. But, raising taxes to pay for both programs may cost them the broad-based support they now enjoy. Making people wait longer to collect Medicare or forcing the poor to pay part of their health care may cause people to delay getting help, resulting in higher costs later on. Option Two: "Reduce Health-Care Costs Throughout the System" It is critical to put Medicare and Medicaid on a better financial footing. We need to pay for fewer lab tests people get and reduce money spent on end-of-life care. The U.S. government should negotiate for lower drug costs as other countries do. But, fewer tests may mean more people will die from undiagnosed illnesses. Less end-of-life intervention may mean that more people will die sooner than they would otherwise need to. And lowering the profits of drug companies will mean less money for research into better drugs that benefit everyone. Option Three: "Get Serious about Prevention" One reason Medicare and Medicaid are headed for a crisis is because so many Americans have unhealthy lifestyles that cause them to develop preventable illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. We should stop expecting others to pay for the consequences of our bad choices. Government incentives should reward those who weigh less, eat right, and exercise more. But, an emphasis on prevention and requiring that people adopt healthier lifestyles would invite unfair scrutiny of their behavior and would increase government intrusion into people’s lives. More about the NIFI Issue Guides NIFI’s Issue Guides introduce participants to several choices or approaches to consider. Rather than conforming to any single public proposal, each choice reflects widely held concerns and principles. Panels of experts review manuscripts to make sure the choices are presented accurately and fairly. By intention, Issue Guides do not identify individuals or organizations with partisan labels, such as Democratic, Republican, conservative, or liberal. The goal is to present ideas in a fresh way that encourages readers to judge them on their merit. Issue Guides are generally available in print or PDF download for a small fee ($2 to $4). All NIFI Issue Guides and associated tools can be accessed at www.nifi.org/en/issue-guides. Follow on Twitter: @NIForums. Resource Link: www.nifi.org/en/issue-guide/medicare-and-medicaid

Deliberation for Reconciliation in Divided Societies

The 37-page case study, Deliberation for Reconciliation in Divided Societies (2015) published by Dr. Magdalena Dembinska and Dr. Françoise Montambeault in the Journal of Public Deliberation: Vol. 11: Iss. 1. The study discusses the how deliberate processes were utilized to facilitate dialogue for inter-group reconciliation. From the Abstract
Engaging with the literature on deliberative democracy, this article contends that in the context of ethnic group hostilities, deliberative processes where participants have a genuine opportunity to communicate and ‘hear the other side’ can be a way for inter-group dialogue and reconciliation. Separating the deliberative process into three distinct moments, it offers a framework for understanding how unequal and conflicting parties may be brought together to deliberate, how to grasp the micro-politics of deliberation, and to understand the diffusion mechanisms that bring society back in. The approach we propose aims to bridge the normative-macro and the experimental-micro accounts of deliberation in order to focus on non-ideal real-life contexts and to offer ‘deliberative lenses’ to study the (rare) cases of deliberative inter-ethnic reconciliation. The approach and the three moments are illustrated by the deliberative turn taken to resolve a conflict between the Innu communities, the Quebec government and the local non-Innu in Saguenay-Lac-Saint Jean.
Download the case study from the Journal of Public Deliberation here. Journal of Public DeliberationAbout the Journal of Public Deliberation Spearheaded by the Deliberative Democracy Consortium in collaboration with the International Association of Public Participation, the principal objective of Journal of Public Deliberation (JPD) is to synthesize the research, opinion, projects, experiments and experiences of academics and practitioners in the emerging multi-disciplinary field and political movement called by some “deliberative democracy.” By doing this, we hope to help improve future research endeavors in this field and aid in the transformation of modern representative democracy into a more citizen friendly form. Follow the Deliberative Democracy Consortium on Twitter: @delibdem Follow the International Association of Public Participation [US] on Twitter: @IAP2USA Resource Link: www.publicdeliberation.net/jpd/vol11/iss1/art12/

Minding Our Future: Investing in Healthy Infants and Toddlers (DMC Issue Guide)

Minding Our Future: Investing in Healthy Infants and Toddlers is an issue guide created by the David Mathews Center for Civic Life for our Alabama Issues Forums 2014 – 2015 series. The issue guide provides a brief overview on the importance of early childhood development, outlininDMC_MindingFutureg three approaches towards investing in healthy infants and toddlers across the state of Alabama. The David Mathews Center—a non-profit, non-partisan organization—does not advocate a particular solution to this issue, but rather seeks to provide a framework for Alabamians to thoughtfully examine multiple approaches, weigh costs and consequences, and work through tensions and tradeoffs among different courses of action. The issue guide’s introductory essay, authored by Dr. Ellen Abell, Associate Professor and Cooperative Extension Specialist at Auburn University, highlights the importance of healthy infant and toddler development:
"Research tells us that the structure of babies’ brains is built in the first three years. During this time, the brain creates 700 neural connections each second, a rate faster than at any other time of life. These simple, beginning connections develop into stronger, more complex connections if babies are exposed to a variety of experiences appropriate for their stages of development… [E]arly adverse experiences lead to poorer learning outcomes, reduced immune system function, and a decreased ability to manage basic levels of stress... Differences in early childhood experiences contribute greatly to the growing gaps in children’s learning and achievement."
The issue guide outlines three possible approaches to addressing the issue: Approach One: “Develop Capable and Caring Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers” During their first three years of life, children are completely dependent on parents, guardians, and caregivers. We must ensure that infants and toddlers receive the support that they need during these important years. Although programs and services aimed at helping children and improving community are important, we need to focus additional time and energy on strengthening the capabilities of the individuals who are responsible for raising and caring for young children… We also must prepare future parents and guardians for their upcoming responsibilities. Approach Two: “Create Healthy and Thriving Communities” Communities directly impact infants and toddlers. If we want to “mind our future,” then we must work to foster safe and healthy communities that support young children and their families. Parents and guardians may want to provide children with everything that they need, but unsupportive neighborhoods and workplaces that increase stress may reduce their abilities to do so. We must create additional family resource centers, encourage workplace policies that embrace families, and organize community events that focus on young children and parents. Approach Three: “Provide Access to Comprehensive High Quality Services for All Children” If we want to provide children with a strong foundation during their first three years of life, then we must offer wide access to necessary support services. Alabamians must make genuine commitments to invest in education, healthcare, and nutrition for all infants and toddlers; otherwise, growing children may face challenges that will impact them for the rest of their lives. Parents, guardians, caregivers, and community groups cannot provide everything that children need during their first three years – some services and support must be provided by institutions and agencies. Also, access to and use of existing services may be limited due to lack of awareness and understanding. More About DMC Issue Guides David Mathews Center issue guides are named and framed by Alabamians for Alabama Issues Forums (AIF) during a biennial “Citizens’ Congress” and follow-up workshops. Alabama Issues Forums is a David Mathews Center signature program designed to bring Alabamians together to deliberate and take community action on an issue of public concern. Digital copies of all AIF issue guides, and accompanying post-forum questionnaires, are available for free download at http://mathewscenter.org/resources/ For further information about the Mathews Center, Alabama Issues Forums, or this publication, please visit http://mathewscenter.org/ Resource Link: http://mathewscenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Minding-Our-Future-singlepages.pdf This resource was submitted by Cristin Foster, the Executive Director at David Mathews Center for Civic Life, via the Add-a-Resource form.

Context and Medium Matter: Expressing Disagreements Online and Face-to-Face in Political Deliberations

The 22-page case study, Context and Medium Matter: Expressing Disagreements Online and Face-to-Face in Political Deliberations (2015) by Jennifer Stromer-Galley, Lauren Bryant and Bruce Bimber was published in the Journal of Public Deliberation: Vol. 11: Iss. 1. This case study examines how participants' behavior differs depending on the medium, when expressing disagreements about political topics. From the Abstract Processes of disagreement are important to public deliberation, but research has not examined the dynamics of disagreement in deliberation of political topics with respect to effects of the channel of interaction. This study analyzes the discussions generated via an experiment in which discussants were randomly assigned either to deliberate online via synchronous chat or face-to-face. The study compares the initiation of disagreement, its qualities, and how long it is sustained in the two environments. Discourse analysis suggests that in the online environment initial expressions of disagreement were less frequent, less bold, and were not sustained as compared with the face-to-face discussions. Reasons include the lack of coherence in synchronous chat, which may challenge interlocutors and prevent them from pursuing a disagreement over multiple turns. Implications of these findings for scholars and practitioners are discussed. Download the case study from the Journal of Public Deliberation here. About the Journal of Public Deliberation Journal of Public DeliberationSpearheaded by the Deliberative Democracy Consortium in collaboration with the International Association of Public Participation, the principal objective of Journal of Public Deliberation (JPD) is to synthesize the research, opinion, projects, experiments and experiences of academics and practitioners in the emerging multi-disciplinary field and political movement called by some “deliberative democracy.” By doing this, we hope to help improve future research endeavors in this field and aid in the transformation of modern representative democracy into a more citizen friendly form. Follow the Deliberative Democracy Consortium on Twitter: @delibdem Follow the International Association of Public Participation [US] on Twitter: @IAP2USA Resource Link: www.publicdeliberation.net/jpd/vol11/iss1/art1/

Deliberation, Democracy, and Civic Forums: Improving Equality and Publicity

Deliberation, Democracy, and Civic Forums: Improving Equality and Publicity by Christopher F. Karpowitz and Chad Raphael was published November 2014. The 409-page book, defines the various examples of civic forums that have grown in popularity in the last few decades. Karpowitz and Raphael explore the role of civic forums in citizen deliberation and how to increase the legitimacy of these kinds of forums in the future. From the intro...

Deliberation, Democracy, and Civic ForumsInnovative forums that integrate citizen deliberation into policy making are revitalizing democracy in many places around the world. Yet controversy abounds over whether these forums ought to be seen as authentic sources of public opinion and how they should fit with existing political institutions. How can civic forums include less powerful citizens and ensure that their perspectives are heard on equal terms with more privileged citizens, officials, and policy experts? How can these fragile institutions communicate citizens’ policy preferences effectively and legitimately to the rest of the political system? Deliberation, Democracy, and Civic Forums proposes creative solutions for improving equality and publicity, which are grounded in new theories about democratic deliberation, a careful review of research and practice in the field, and several original studies. This book speaks to scholars, practitioners, and sponsors of civic engagement, public management and consultation, and deliberative and participatory democracy.

Find the book through Cambridge University press or Amazon.

More about Christopher Karpowitz Christopher F. Karpowitz is an associate professor of political science and the co-director of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University. He is a coauthor of The Silent Sex: Gender, Deliberation, and Institutions (2014) and of Democracy at Risk: How Political Choices Undermine Citizen Participation, and What We Can Do about It (2005). He has published in a variety of journals, including the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, Public Opinion Quarterly, the British Journal of Political Science, Perspectives on Politics, Political Communication, Politics & Society, PS: Political Science and Politics, and the Journal of Public Deliberation. Prior to joining BYU, he was a postdoctoral fellow in democracy and human values at Princeton University’s Center for Human Values. More about Chad Raphael Chad Raphael is a professor of communication at Santa Clara University. He is the author of Investigated Reporting: Muckrakers, Regulators, and the Struggle over Television Documentary (2005), which won the Frank Luther Mott–Kappa Tau Alpha Research Award for the best book on journalism and mass communication, the Donald McGannon Award for social and ethical relevance in communications policy research, and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication History Division Award for best book. He has published in many journals, including Political Communication, Politics and Society, Communication Law and Policy, Journalism Studies, the Journal of Educational Computing Research, the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, and Games and Culture, and in many edited volumes. He consults for non-profit organizations on their communication strategies and is former chair of the board at the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation and the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition. Before entering academia, he was a community organizer on affordable housing and environmental issues. Resource Link: www.cambridge.org/US/academic/subjects/sociology/political-sociology/deliberation-democracy-and-civic-forums-improving-equality-and-publicity  

A New Land: What Kind of Government Should We Have? (NIFI Issue Guide)

The National Issues Forums Institute published the Issue Guide, A New Land: What Kind of Government Should We Have?, in 2015. This guide is to help facilitate deliberation the current and future state of the US union. From the guide… It is the spring of 1787. We are now iNIFI_NewLandn a critical period. Our new republic is unstable and the liberty we won just four years ago is threatened. We’ve lost the unity inspired by our fight against Britain. Trade is difficult and our physical safety is uncertain. There are conflicts within and threats from without. The current state of affairs has sparked conversations in pubs and shops, town squares and farmyards. Everywhere, people are asking the same questions: What should we do? How will we survive? How can our hard-won liberty be sustained? The questions boil down to this: What kind of government should we have? This historic decisions issue guide presents three options for deliberation: Option One: "Strengthen the Current Partnership Among Equals" The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union need to be amended. The current one-vote-per-state Confederation Congress assures that we are a union of equal members, but the current central government lacks the power to raise funds or make binding decisions. It needs to have the power to hold states accountable without impinging on their rights. We must figure out a workable balance that gives the central government more power and yet still respects each state’s autonomy. Option Two: "Create a Strong Central Government" To maintain our independence, we must ensure our stability. We need a strong central government to protect our liberty. Too much freedom at either the state or the personal level can be destructive. A republican form of federal government, with proportional representation from all of the states, guarantees that individual citizens will still have a say. A stronger central government in a new federal union of the states will also have the authority to safeguard our economic stability and physical security. Option Three: "Let States Govern Themselves" Now that we have our liberty, we should dissolve the Confederation and let the states govern themselves as independent republics. Local governance works best. We are too economically, geographically, and culturally diverse to form one nation. Each state has its own traditions of self-governance, some going back a century or more. Each has its own way of determining citizenship. We’ve proven we can successfully unite in the face of a common threat, and we can do it again if need be. More about the NIFI Issue Guides NIFI’s Issue Guides introduce participants to several choices or approaches to consider. Rather than conforming to any single public proposal, each choice reflects widely held concerns and principles. Panels of experts review manuscripts to make sure the choices are presented accurately and fairly. By intention, Issue Guides do not identify individuals or organizations with partisan labels, such as Democratic, Republican, conservative, or liberal. The goal is to present ideas in a fresh way that encourages readers to judge them on their merit. Issue Guides are generally available in print or PDF download for a small fee ($2 to $4). All NIFI Issue Guides and associated tools can be accessed at www.nifi.org/en/issue-guides. Follow on Twitter: @NIForums. Resource Link: www.nifi.org/en/issue-guide/historic-decisions-new-land

Airesis – Open Source E-democracy Social Network

Airesis is a free, web-based, open source E-democracy platform, structured as a social network and designed to maximize the collective intelligence of group deliberation. It is the result of 5 years of development, testing and pilot experimentation, organized and done by an Italian Association - Tecnologie Democratiche, which included the collaboration of more than 50 people. Airesis is the outcome of the fusion of two projects: Agorà 2.0 and DemocracyOnline, that came together in the association, Tecnologie Democratiche, with one of its main goals being the development of an innovative, open-source, e-democracy software. The goal of the team, made entirely of volunteers, is to give citizens and groups a software platform that allows them to cope with most of the problems of our society, by allowing the creation, discussion and voting on proposals in a transparent, democratic, constructive and participative way; allowing the collective intelligence to emerge. From Airesis

Airesis is a free software platform, built by a team of Italian developers and contributors, to enable communities and groups to organize themselves in a productive manner according to the principles of direct democracy and participation.

To achieve this goal, the application has been designed as a multifunctional system, which integrates all the tools that can help the development of a community, in particular "social" and deliberative tools.

Among social tools, Airesis offers blogs and a system of promotion of events and meetings with adjoining scheduling. Among deliberative tools it includes areas for the collection and deliberation of proposals and initiatives, and a voting system aimed to the election of candidates. The platform also allows you to create groups with access regulations policies and customizable permissions. Since the goal of Airesis is to stimulate participation, great attention has been spent in order to maximize the intuitiveness of the whole platform. The development philosophy is focused on continuous improvement, a kind of evolutionary process based on users feedback. The development team is available to meet the needs of the communities which want to use the software according to the spirit of direct democracy.

TecnologieDemocraticheMore about Tecnologie Democratiche In the political arena and by the citizen, the Internet is increasingly perceived as potential instrument for the democratic participation; however, few and undeveloped are the web platforms conceived to help parties and political movement to involve citizens in the preparation of programs and policy proposals. The association "Tecnologie Democratiche" ("Democratic Technologies" ndr.) was created to satisfy this need, providing an enhanced tool to exploit the "collective intelligence", the skills and experiences of citizens, their creativity, their critical spirit, while ensuring at the same time democratic values in the various stages of the elaboration of a policy proposal. Follow Technologie Democratiche on Twitter: @TDemocratiche Learn more about the Airesis team here. Follow Airesis on Twitter: @democracyo Resource Link: www.airesis.info/ This resource was submitted by Jacopo Tolja, the Internationalisation Team Leader at Associazione Tecnologie Democratiche via the Add-a-Resource form.

Understanding Participant Representativeness in Deliberative Events

The case study, Understanding Participant Representativeness in Deliberative Events: A Case Study Comparing Probability and Non-Probability Recruitment Strategies, by Jamie Griffin, Tarik Abdel-Monem, Alan Tomkins, Amanda Richardson, and Stacia Jorgensen, was published in the Journal of Public Deliberation: Vol. 11: Iss. 1. This case study examines participant representativeness within deliberative events and then reviews two public participation processes in Lincoln, Nebraska. From the Abstract

Deliberative event participants often differ in meaningful ways from the population they are intended to represent; however, less is known about whether various recruitment methods influence participant representativeness. Furthermore, a better understanding of where in the recruitment process lack of representation occurs is needed. We present a framework for understanding why event attendees might not represent the target population and then compare two different recruitment strategies using this framework. Specifically, we consider a Deliberative Poll that used a random-digit-dial telephone recruitment survey and a deliberative event that used a convenience sample web recruitment survey. For two stages in the recruitment process, we calculate nonresponse errors for statistics assessing demographic characteristics and confidence in local government. Notably, both recruitment methods resulted in event attendees that were older and better educated than the population they were intended to represent providing evidence that probability recruitment methods do not necessarily outperform nonprobability methods. Additionally, we demonstrate that aspects of the recruitment process other than the recruitment survey sampling method used can influence participant representativeneess. We conclude by discussing adjustments to the recruitment process that might improve the representativeness of event attendees.

Download the case study from the Journal of Public Deliberation here. About the Journal of Public Deliberation Spearheaded by the Deliberative Democracy Consortium in collaboration with the International Association of Public Participation, the principal objective of Journal of Public Deliberation (JPD) is to synthesize the research, opinion, projects, experiments and experiences of academics and practitioners in the emerging multi-disciplinary field and political movement called by some “deliberative democracy.” By doing this, we hope to help improve future research endeavors in this field and aid in the transformation of modern representative democracy into a more citizen friendly form. Follow the Deliberative Democracy Consortium on Twitter: @delibdem Follow the International Association of Public Participation [US] on Twitter: @IAP2USA Resource Link: www.publicdeliberation.net/jpd/vol11/iss1/
-