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New book on online consultation in U.S. and Europe

Supporting member Peter Shane (visiting professor of law at Harvard Law School) shared this announcement on the NCDD Discussion List yesterday…

I am thrilled to announce the publication by MIT Press of, “Connecting Democracy:  Online Consultation and the Flow of Political Communication,” edited by Stephen Coleman and me.  The book is a collaborative project of 19 researchers investigating the experience and potential of online consultation in the United States and Europe.

The following paragraph from the introductory chapter gives a flavor of our framework:  “A useful understanding of the online consultation phenomenon has to go beyond how particular consultations might or might not affect the outcomes of individual policy- making episodes. We need to consider what such consultations provide, or could provide, to the larger flow of political communication within a society. This also means regarding online consultations as something more than simple two-way dialogues between citizen-participants and public decision makers. Instead, they represent a kind of networked communication involving citizens (both participants and auditors), public decision makers (of both the legislative and administrative sort), bureaucrats, technicians, civil society organizations, and the media generally. Exploring the meaning of online consultations to these diverse actors requires evidence-gathering through multiple methods, comparative study, and analysis across a variety of key disciplines. We have to appreciate how the experience is constructed by social, political, and legal forces, including, but not limited to the design of the online consultation experience itself. This sort of approach yields an understanding that the online consultation can best contribute phenomenon’s greatest contribution to democratic practice depends by inspiring and supporting a reimagining on it becoming both an impetus to, and a form of support for, a re-imagination of democratic citizenship—a robust form of citizenship that is enhanced by arguably rendered more practical (but hardly inevitable) because of new forms of information and communication technology.”

Learn more about the book at http://tinyurl.com/cyp8pqn.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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