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Center for the Study of Citizen Deliberation (CSCD) Project


Purpose: To provide high quality intellectual capital used by change agents to enhance democracy through better citizen deliberation.

Target: Purchase the "" URL to establish an online clearinghouse for high-quality information about citizen deliberation.

"Democracy comes alive
when diverse citizens come together
to reflect creatively
on their common affairs"

The site would include at least the following:

  • FAQ
  • Methods
  • Resources
  • Stories
  • Articles
  • The learning edge

Here are some notes on what might be on this site, for starters...


What do you mean by deliberation?
What is citizen deliberation?
How does citizen deliberation relate to public participation? To deliberative democracy?
What's so special about citizen deliberation?
What is the Center for the Study of Citizen Deliberation 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?


Citizens as policymakers (participatory budget, Canada's current electoral reform)
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 search)
Citizens exploring and acting together (study circles, open space, various cafe modes, online deliberations)
Citizens seeing citizens deliberate (Electronic town hall meetings, Maclean's)
Conversational techniques (circle, dynamic facilitation, dialogue forms)
Electronic deliberation 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)


General theory:

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, et al
Empowering Regions - ARS
Participatory Environmental Policy Processes - Holmes and Scoones


(see "methods" for specific method-related resources)


Multi-Process Citizen Deliberation

The Tao of Democracy - Atlee
Fairness and Competence in Citizen Participation - Renn, Webler and Wiedemann
Random Selection in Politics - Carson and Martin

General Multi-Process

Centered on the Edge - Fetzer Institute
The Change Handbook - Holman and Devane
The Joy of Conversation - Sandra and Utne

New Democracy

Beyond Adversary Democracy - Mansbridge
The New State - Follett
The Local Politics of Global Sustainability - Prugh, Costanza and Daly
The Quickening of America - Lappe and Du Bois
Deepening Democracy - Gung and Wright

Organizations and Websites:

Co-Intelligence Institute
National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation
Consortium for Deliberative Democracy
Study Circles Resource Center
Civic Practices Network

Foundations that support public deliberation:

To be researched.


Shop talk:

Wikis and online dialogues about issues related to citizen deliberation -- including explorations and critiques of Tom Atlee's extensive "Multi-process Public Participation Programs" articles


  • What are the cultural and institutional obstacles to citizen 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 all successful deliberations?


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