When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy and Public Consultation

When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy and Public Consultation

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By (author) James S. Fishkin

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 159mm x 233mm x 18mm | 386g
  • Publication date: 30 September 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199604436
  • ISBN 13: 9780199604432
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 423,730

Product description

All over the world democratic reforms have brought power to the people - but under conditions where the people have little opportunity to think about the power that they exercise. Do we want a democracy inspired by Madison or by Madison Avenue? A democracy animated by deliberation or by manipulation? This book examines each of the principal democratic theories and makes the case for a democracy in which the people offer informed judgments about politics or policy. It then goes on to show how this form of democracy can be made a reality. When the People Speak describes deliberative democracy projects conducted by the author with various collaborators in the US, China, Britain, Denmark, Australia, Italy, Bulgaria, Northern Ireland, and in the entire European Union. These projects have resulted in the massive expansion of wind power in Texas, the building of sewage treatment plants in China, the crafting of budget solutions in a region in Italy, and greater mutual understanding between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. Critics of deliberative democracy say that it will privilege the more educated or that the public is incompetent when it comes to understanding policy issues, and should not be consulted. Others argue that it will increase polarization. Fishkin offers rebuttals for each of these arguments. Combining theory and practice he shows how a more deliberative politics is both practical and compelling.

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Author information

James S. Fishkin is author of a number of books including Democracy and Deliberation (1991), The Dialogue of Justice (1992 ), The Voice of the People: Public Opinion and Democracy (1995), Deliberation Day (with Bruce Ackerman, 2004). His Deliberative Polling process has been conducted in countries ranging from China and Bulgaria to Denmark, Britain, Australia, Italy, Hungary, and the US. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford and the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. He has also been Visiting Fellow Commoner at Trinity College, Cambridge. He holds both a PhD in Political Science from Yale and a PhD in Philosophy from Cambridge. He holds the Janet M. Peck Chair in International Communication at Stanford University where he teaches Communication and Political Science and Directs the Center for Deliberative Democracy.

Review quote

Review from previous edition After many years of perfecting the art of deliberative polling from his place as director of the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University, Fishkin offers fresh evidence of the promise the model holds for democracy. The goal is to find out what people would really think if they could share concerns and hear from experts - opinions change, and people learn about one another Organization, technology, and incentives make it possible to become more thoughtful democratic citizens. Wonderful research; strongly recommended. Choice intriguing...a portrait of public opinion that is more thoughtful than top-of-the-head responses to pollster questions. Politics Daily He makes a persuasive case for his experiments in When the People Speak. The descriptions of the differing debates and outcomes of a long list of assemblies is continuously interesting and often fascinating. Open Democracy James Fishkin is an impressive individual ... Fishkin has done what (to my knowledge) no other democratic theorist has attempted, namely, to design his own democratic institution-the deliberative poll (DP)... Perspectives on Politics

Table of contents

1. Democratic Aspirations ; 2. The Trilemma of Democratic Reform ; 3. Competing Visions ; 4. Making Deliberative Democracy Practical ; 5. Making Deliberation Consequential ; 6. Deliberating Under Difficult Conditions ; Appendix: Why We Need Only Four Democratic Theories