July 2, 2014
Special Issue: The State of the Field
Essays on the accomplishments of and challenges to
public engagement and deliberative democracy
Edited by Laura W. Black, Timothy J. Shaffer, and Nancy L. Thomas
This special issue of the Journal of Public Deliberation consists of a collection essays by leading innovators and scholars who share a commitment to increased and improved participation by everyday Americans in public discourse, community problem solving, and social policy making. The “field” of public deliberation has made impressive advances in the last thirty years in both theory and practice.
Despite these gains, many scholars and practitioners can point to challenges and concerns, ranging from “what do we call this work?” to “how do we build a strong civic infrastructure for public engagement?” Writers responded to questions about the scope and boundaries of the work, the relationship between deliberation and democracy, the tensions between advocacy and deliberation, the risks associated with steadfast neutrality, and future directions for the field. They help us see that popular declarations in favor of “more public participation” require more reflection and intentionality. The issue also includes promising future directions, some insightful personal essays, and reviews of books that highlight the breadth of deliberative engagement. To read the issue, visit http://www.publicdeliberation.net/jpd/.
The Journal of Public Deliberation is supported by the Deliberative Democracy Consortium and the International Association for Public Participation. This issue will serve as the basis for discussion and planning at the 2014 Frontiers of Democracy conference, July 16-18, 2014 at Tufts University. For information on the conference, please visit http://activecitizen.tufts.edu/civic-studies/frontiers/.
Frontiers is co-sponsored by the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, The Democracy Imperative, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), and the Jonathan M. Tisch College for Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University. Readers are encouraged to attend or join the discussions remotely. After the conference, there will be a reflective essay in the Journal of Public Deliberation based on the discussion that takes place at Frontiers to continue the conversation about the state of the field of public deliberation and its future.