Citizen Conversation, Dialogue, Deliberation and Reflection (CCDDR) Program
PURPOSE: To catalyze a movement which recognizes and establishes
citizen conversation, dialogue, deliberation and reflection (CCDDR)
as a central factor in the life, well-being, peace, governance,
intelligence and survival of communities, regions, states, nations
and the world.
Our initial geographic focus will be communities, counties
and states in the U.S. in order to build a popular base of support
for CCDR in the U.S. However, we will network, research and advocate
at national and international levels when the occasion warrants,
and share our writings and research openly on the Web and through
We believe both of the following:
a) The problems that will most seriously impact communities
can only be effectively addressed by well designed high quality
citizen dialogue and deliberation at national, international and
b) Adequate CCDDR at national and international levels will
develop best out of experience with and widespread support for
CCDDR at local and state levels.
Citizen: A resident in a community, state or country
who takes on -- or is expected to take on -- shared responsibility
for its collective welfare.
Although specific citizens may have
special status in the community, they are -- AS CITIZENS, especially
in CCDDR activities -- treated as peers by and with all other
citizens in that community.
Conversation: People talking together about whatever
"Conversation" is here used as a general
term covering dialogue, deliberation, and reflection. (Elsewhere
it is often used to embrace other forms of talk not included in
this program, such as discussion, debate, discourse, etc., which
are tend to be less collaborative, congenial and/or productive
than dialogue, deliberation and reflection.) It is also often
used here to connote informality and spontaneity, whereas "dialogue,"
"deliberation" and "reflection" often connote
more formal, structured, facilitated or specially convened conversations.
(Note: Informal conversation can
be promoted by community and architectural designs that offer
inviting public spaces for conversations of various sorts (e.g.,
parks with alcoves and gathering places, public libraries with
meeting rooms, many cafes, etc.); a culture of conversation (e.g.,
community leaders promoting the idea that "Dialogue is what
we do here"); interesting, accessible, well-publicised occasions
for loosely organized public conversations; mass media explicitly
inviting conversations (e.g., as part of civic journalism); etc.)
Dialogue: Exploratory conversation concerning topics
of interest, in which diverse perspectives are aired and heard.
Much dialogue is deliberation or reflection
(see below). But dialogue may also be undertaken to build relationships
and heal rifts between people (by them hearing each other), to
expand participants' understanding of the "big picture"
(by hearing other views than their own), and to expand possible
options (through co-creative engagement with issues, including
participants coming up with new solutions or joining in self-organized
Deliberation: Dialogue that considers diverse points
of view on a specific topic (issue, situation, proposal, candidate,
Deliberation is usually undertaken in
order to arrive at a statement of shared conclusions, decisions,
findings and/or recommendations, which are often then publicly
announced and/or submitted to specific public officials.
Reflection: People thinking deeply and broadly together
about how they're doing, the state of their world, what they care
about, how they feel about it, where they are going together,
Reflection may be about a specific
issue, but is usually more general and open-ended. It often involves
looking at one's own role, individually and collectively, and
delving into fundamental considerations and meanings.
Reflection can be done for its own sake, or to produce a statement
of understandings for broader use.
CCDDR: Any and all activities promoting the conversations
of citizens and the empowerment of such conversations, especially
dialogic, deliberative and reflective conversations designed to
significantly impact the communities (and larger areas) from which
their participants are drawn. This is not the same as dialogue
and deliberation among stakeholders (as in Consensus Councils)
or public officials (as in Legislatures) -- which are embraced
by the broader category of deliberative democracy. CCDDRs tend
to have citizens as the central players, with other players in
supportive or peer roles. CCDDR overlaps with stakeholder dialogues
in cases where citizens are well included among the other stakeholders.
Note: CCDDR is a comprehensive "technical"
term that may be seen as jargon by some people this project wants
to reach. Initial contact materials and conversations may use
terms like "citizen conversations" or "citizen
dialogue and deliberation" or "community dialogues"
to promote CCDDR, only getting into the distinctions above when
it serves the aims of the program in a particular case.
People who are passionate (or could be passionate) about having
more CCDDR in their communties.
This includes at least state, county and local government officials
and public servants, as well as relevant community based organizations,
public interest groups, religious congregations, educational institutions,
youth groups, etc., who seek more CCDDR -- or might.
This could also include former community change agents, including
former public officials and candidates for public office, disillusioned
community activists, formerly conscientious citizens, etc., who
may have dropped out of active participation because of the adversarial
or bureaucratic nature of politics and governance. Their civic
motivations may be rekindled when offered a more positive, inclusive
approach to civic work.
We can also reach out to prospective public officials such
as graduate students in public planning and aspiring candidates
for public office.
1. Support efforts to bring together dialogue and deliberation
practitioners, scholars and researchers in inclusive networks
such as the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation,
Deliberative Democracy Consortium, etc.
2. Research, promote, and support efforts to compile and synergize
diverse approaches to CCDDR, such as those being undertaken by
John Gastil, AmericaSpeaks and the Mary Parker Follett Foundation.
Promote the idea of synergized multi-process public participation
programs among those doing this work and those organizing CCDDR
in their communities.
3. Generally promote CCDDR's key role in community health and
intelligence in public affairs media and conferences, and to any
change agents who seem receptive.
4. Support efforts to institutionalize CCDDR -- or to create
any official CCDDR activities -- at the national level, such as
those of Deliberative Democracy Consortium.
5. Catalyze state and local CCDDR by organizing local conversations
and coalitions to get CCDDR rolling, such as those created by
Study Circles Resource Center (except ours would be generic and
multi-process, rather than promoting only one approach to CCDDR).
6. Activate former CCDDR participants (who tend to be enthusiastic
after their participation) to demand and organize CCDDR in their
communities and elsewhere. This would include jury members and
citizens who participate in the activities organized by NCDD professionals.
7. Research, promote and support self-replicating CCDDR efforts
like the Rogue Valley Wisdom Council and Beyond War, where participants
in early waves of activity organize subsequent waves.
8. Create promotional, organizing and training materials for
the activities in 5, 6 and 7 above, or catalyze their creation
by others. Since many groups currently have such materials either
for specific methodologies or for some particular approach to
community organizing, compile annotated guides to those materials
(and/or other guides to those materials!) on the Web.
9. Create a print newsletter for our identified audiences --
especially public officials -- describing successful efforts at
basic or multi-process public participation programs, and giving
useful theory and process descriptions. Include a shop-talk or
Q&A section for subscribers to work through issues and share
10. Convene strategic conversations where the selection of
participants, processes, topics and timing are intended to facilitate
breakthroughs in specific areas of strategic need.
11. Catalyze (or, if funding is available, sponsor) research
around interesting local efforts at CCDDR -- process effectiveness
research, multi-process efficacy research, research on successful
organizing activities and research on impact. Ideally, we would
be leading consultants in formulating and designing research for
multi-process programs that generate measurable community intelligence.
Sample Research Questions:
* What are the cultural and institutional obstacles to citizen
dialogue and deliberation, its success and its empowerment?
* To what extent do randomly selected citizen deliberative
councils produce outcomes recognized as desirable and/or common
sense -- or just better than traditional official political/governmental
outcomes -- by the public from which they were drawn?
* What approaches help people of diverse values subcultures
to work together creatively on public issues?
* What characteristics or dynamics underlie successful dialogues
SPECIFIC ACTIONS THAT COULD BE DONE
Make a list of organizations, conferences, leaders, publications
we should be attending to in order to reach out to the audiences
we have identified
Write articles for professional journals
Give workshops at professional conferences
Create a database of participants in CCDDR and engage them
in further organizing in their communities through a website devoted
to that purpose
Similarly engage people on the Co-Intelligence Institute mailing
Create guidelines for DIY local organizing using simple conversational
events (like world cafe or study circles), Wisdom Council organizing,
leetters to the editor, strategic conversations, etc.
Create a Wiki of scores of processes and public participation
Bring together the parties creating multi-process reviews of
methodologies -- John Gastil, AmericaSpeaks and the Mary Parker
The website for this program would include at least the following:
The learning edge
Here is some notes on what might be on this site, for starters...
What do you mean by deliberation (and conversation, and dialogue,
and reflection -- and citizen)?
What is citizen conversation, dialogue, deliberation and reflection
(called "citizen deliberation" for short)?
How does citizen deliberation relate to public participation?
To deliberative democracy?
What's so special about citizen deliberation?
What is the Citizen Conversation, Dialogue, Deliberation and Reflection
Program all about?
What do you mean by "a trustworthy voice of We the People"?
What do you mean by "community wisdom"?
Where can I find out more and participate in this?
METHODS (perhaps categorized as follows)
Citizens as policymakers (participatory budget, Canada's current
Citizens at dialogue shapers (CDCs, community visioning)
Citizens as advisors (citizen advisory councils, 21st Century
Town Meetings, charettes)
Citizens represented at the table (stakeholder meetings, future
Citizens exploring and acting together (study circles, open space,
various cafe modes, online deliberations)
Citizens seeing citizens deliberate (Electronic town hall meetings,
Conversational and Dialogic techniques (circle, dynamic facilitation,
Electronic deliberation and dialogue tools
Democratic design (making community, architectural, institutional
and cultural space for conversation)
Maclean's "The Peoples Verdict" (Canada, 1991)
Oregon Health Initiatives
Jackson Michigan (?) (Carole Schwinn's amazing community project)
Consensus Conference on Biotechnology (UK)
Listening to the City (America Speaks, NY)
A Call to Move beyond Public Opinion to Public Judgment - Atlee
Deep Democracy and Community Wisdom - Atlee
Deliberative Citizens' Forums and Interest Groups: Roles, Tensions
and Incentives - Henriks
The Rhetoric of Public Dialogue - Anderson, Cissna, and Clune
**Multi-process theory and reviews:
Multi-process Public Participation Programs - Atlee
Democracy and the Precautionary Principle - Pellerano and Montague
Innovations in Public Participation and Environmental Decision-Making
- Konisky and Beierle
Contemporary Public Involvement - Jackson
Deliberative Democracy and Citizen Empowerment - IIED
Experiments in Empowered Deliberative Democracy - Fung and Wright
Engaging Citizens in Policy-making - OECD
Ideas for Community Consultation - Carson and Gelber
A Review of Public Participation and Consultation Methods - Abelson,
Empowering Regions - ARS
Participatory Environmental Policy Processes - Holmes and Scoones
RESOURCES (see "methods" for specific method-related
Multi-Process Citizen Deliberation
The Tao of Democracy - Atlee
Fairness and Competence in Citizen Participation - Renn, Webler
Random Selection in Politics - Carson and Martin
Centered on the Edge - Fetzer Institute
The Change Handbook - Holman and Devane
The Joy of Conversation - Sandra and Utne
Beyond Adversary Democracy - Mansbridge
The New State - Follett
The Local Politics of Global Sustainability - Prugh, Costanza
The Quickening of America - Lappe and Du Bois
Deepening Democracy - Gung and Wright
Organizations and Websites:
National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation
Consortium for Deliberative Democracy
Study Circles Resource Center
Civic Practices Network
Mary Parker Follett Foundation
Foundations that support public deliberation:
THE LEARNING EDGE
Wikis and online dialogues about issues related to citizen deliberation
and dialogue -- including explorations and critiques of Atlee's
extensive "Multi-process Public Participation Programs"