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Deliberation and Democracy: Innovative Processes and Institutions

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Edited By Stephen Coleman, Anna Przybylska and Yves Sintomer

As our experience regarding the practice of deliberation grows, the position from which we evaluate it, and the criteria of this evaluation, change. This book presents a synthesis of recent research that has brought detailed and robust results. Its first section concerns contemporary challenges and new approaches to the public sphere. The second focuses on the Deliberative Poll as a specific deliberative technique and compares findings emanating from this practice in various political and cultural contexts. The third section addresses the challenge of determining what constitutes deliberative quality. Finally, the last section discusses democratic deliberation and deliberative democracy as they relate to the complex challenges of contemporary politics.
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Katherine R. Knobloch, John Gastil & Tyrone Reitman - Chapter One. Connecting Micro-Deliberation to Electoral Decision Making: Institutionalizing the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review

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Katherine R. Knobloch, John Gastil & Tyrone Reitman

Chapter One. Connecting Micro-Deliberation to Electoral Decision Making: Institutionalizing the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review

Introduction: Deliberative Events and (the Lack of) Institutionalization

The theory, practice, and study of public deliberation has undergone expansive growth over the past two decades, and it has given rise to—or theoretically framed—several novel opportunities for community discussion and empowered citizen decision making (Gastil and Levine 2005; Goodin and Dryzek 2006; Nabatchi et al. 2012)1. Few of these processes, however, have been institutionalized as formal parts of governing systems and granted official decision-making power or other forms of direct influence. In other words, most such processes are typically disconnected from the very decisions they seek to influence.

The Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) is one deliberative event that has been granted governmental legitimacy as a means of public voice, if not authoritative decision making. The CIR was developed to improve the quality of information available to voters regarding state-wide initiatives by connecting small-scale deliberation with electoral decision making. Briefly, CIR organizers convened representative groups of twenty-four registered Oregon voters for five days to study and deliberate on statewide initiatives. At the end of their deliberations, each panel of citizens wrote a page of analysis about their assigned initiative for the official Oregon State Voters’ Pamphlet, which the Secretary of State delivered along with mail-in ballots to every registered voter in the state. As many...

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