Thursday, October 15, 2009

New book by Fishkin on deliberative democracy

When the People Speak
Deliberative Democracy and Public Consultation

James Fishkin

(Oxford University Press, 2009)

256 pages


"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.

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."


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

James Fishkin holds the Janet M. Peck Chair in International Communication at Stanford University. He is also Director of Stanford's Center for Deliberative Democracy and Chair of the Dept of Communication.

No comments: