The Future of Deliberative Democratic Theory and Practice.

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John Gastil - Faculty Colloquium - 21 Feb 2007

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  • A shorthand definition of deliberation:
    When people deliberate, they carefully examine a problem and a range of solutions through an open, inclusive discussion that respects diverse points of view.
  • Deliberative Democratic Theory
    Rise of deliberation as a subject of study
    Broadened understanding of deliberation
    The Civic Impact of Jury Deliberation
    Research on jury deliberation
    Deliberation and civic infrastructure
    Voter Knowledge in Initiative Elections
    The Citizens Initiative Review
  • Goal of book: to integrate pol comm and deliberation
    When understood in broad terms, deliberation is the central concept underlying a broad range of empirical research topics and moral questions raised in political communication scholarship—from how media framing can constrain public discussion, to how partisan pressures warp Congressional debates, to how political conversations can change how people think about candidates. Deliberation provides a unifying conceptual and critical framework within which one can better organize and understand the large array of political communication topics.
  • Championing: to protect or fight for as a champion
  • Championing: to protect or fight for as a champion
  • Championing: to protect or fight for as a champion
  • Forums: NIF
    US Supreme Court: Powers v. Ohio
    Japan: go to next slide
  • Transition: Does it have this effect? Thurston County pilot published in 2002 says “yes”. But we looked nationally.
  • Current research: replicating and extending this study to 2006 initiatives
  • Key Co-sponsors in House
    Chair and all Dems. on State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee
    Vice Chair of Appropriations Committee
  • Key Co-sponsors in Senate
    Chair of Government Operations and Elections Committee
    Chair of Ways and Means Committee
  • The Future of Deliberative Democratic Theory and Practice.

    1. 1. The Frontiers of Deliberative Democratic Theory and Practice John Gastil Department of Communication Presentation at the University of Washington February 21, 2007
    2. 2. Research Program Overview • Core theoretical focus: understanding democracy and deliberation • Large, networked research team • Individual essays and studies investigating specific questions • Growing body of scholarship
    3. 3. Deliberative Democratic Theory Group Decision Making Gover- nance Civic Engage- ment Public Opinion & Atts. Elec- tions Citizen Initiative Review Election Day Simulation Kettering Foundation Projects Community Group Consulting Consulting on Public Participation By Popular Demand Cultural Cognition Project Issues Forums and Civic Engagement Democracy in Small Groups Jury and Democracy Project Deliberative Democracy Handbook Small Group Process Political Comm and Deliberation Mass Opinion ChangePolitical Campaigns Theoretical Essays Political Consulting Protest Groups Initiative and Referenda
    4. 4. Deliberative Democratic Theory
    5. 5. Principal Collaborators • UW graduate students – Stephanie Burkhalter – Todd Kelshaw – Laura Black – Mike Xenos – Students in COM 417 & 555 • Other co-authors – Bill Keith (U Wisc-Milwaukee) – Jane Mansbridge (Harvard U) – Patricia Moy (U Washington)
    6. 6. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 1990 1995 2000 2006 “Deliberation” (with “Civic/Citizen/Political/Public”) in Peer-Reviewed Articles in Expanded Academic Index Deliberation Scholarship
    7. 7. Conceptions of Deliberation Political Communication and Deliberation John Gastil
    8. 8. Local/Global Public Discourse and ActionMedia Informal Networking and Political Conversation Public Meetings Elections Legislature Judiciary Juries Public Education Cultural Expression Organizational Meetings International Bodies Social Movements Public Officials & Institutions Individual Citizens Civil Society Associations Executive & Agencies Deliberative Contexts
    9. 9. Broad Conception of Deliberation Analytic • Create a solid information base • Prioritize the key values at stake • Identify a broad range of solutions • Weigh solution pros, cons, and tradeoffs Social Process • Adequately distribute speaking opportunities • Ensure mutual comprehension • Consider other ideas and experiences • Respect other participants
    10. 10. Meanings Across Contexts Create a solid information base • Discussion/conversation: Discuss personal and emotional experiences, as well as general information. • Electoral process: Provide readily-accessible and relevant information about issues and candidates. • Government (agenda setting): Maintain a reliable and broad research base that can identify emerging social, economic, and environmental problems. • Jury: Consider only the evidence/testimony provided during the trial. Avoid adding personal experiences.
    11. 11. Meanings Across Contexts Create a solid information base • Discussion/conversation: Discuss personal and emotional experiences, as well as general information. • Electoral process: Provide readily-accessible and relevant information about issues and candidates. • Government (agenda setting): Maintain a reliable and broad research base that can identify emerging social, economic, and environmental problems. • Jury: Consider only the evidence/testimony provided during the trial. Avoid adding personal experiences.
    12. 12. Civic Impact of Deliberation
    13. 13. Principal Collaborators • Co-principal investigators – Perry Deess, Institutional Research, NJIT – Phil Weiser, School of Law, U Colorado-Boulder • Graduate student co-authors Jay Leighter, Laura Black, Stephanie Burkhalter, Mike Xenos, Leah Sprain, Andrea Hickerson. • Undergraduate co-authors – Tina Gall (volunteer, employee, co-author) – Jordan Larner (senior thesis) • Other co-authors – Hiroshi Fukurai, Kent Jennings, Mark Nolan, Cynthia Simmons
    14. 14. Overivew • Theoretical significance of the research project • National study of jury service and voting • King County panel survey assessing effects beyond voting
    15. 15. Theoretical Background • The participation hypothesis – Democratic participation promotes future civic engagement – Focus on deliberative activities • A taken-for-granted assumption – Deliberative forums – U.S. Supreme Court – Japanese “lay assessor” system
    16. 16. Recommendations of the Justice System Reform Council, June 12, 2001 “In Japanese society of the 21st century, it is incumbent on the people to break out of the excessive dependency of the state that accompanies the traditional consciousness of being governed objects, develop public consciousness within themselves, and become more actively involved in public affairs.” Theoretical Background
    17. 17. Research Sites
    18. 18. Sample List of Jury Trials
    19. 19. Sample List of Jurors for a Trial
    20. 20. County Voter Database
    21. 21. Merging Databases JURORS VOTERS 65% match rate
    22. 22. Ideal Test • Ideal study sample – Large sample (N = 13,237) – Reluctant participants (summons) • Clear effects – Long-term effects (5 yrs pre/post) – Distinct behaviors (jury vs. voting) • Valid and reliable measures – Direct measures of behavior (jury/voting) – Low measurement error (public records)
    23. 23. Jury Service Measures • Deliberative experience on jury – Comparison group: Mistrial before beginning jury deliberation – Other outcomes: Guilty plea, alternate, hung, reached a verdict • Additional trial features – Number and nature of charges – Duration of trial and jury deliberation
    24. 24. Results for Infrequent Voters Serving on Criminal Juries Predictors of Post-Jury Voting B (SE) Pre-Jury Voting Avg. .640 (.06) .273*** Verdict vs. Mistrial .043 (.03) .076* Hung Jury vs. Mistrial .068 (.04) .063** Alternate vs. Mistrial .022 (.04) .022 Guilty Plea vs. Mistrial .019 (.04) .021 Number of Charges .013 (.01) .061** R2 df Totals .128 1,390 b
    25. 25. King County Panel Survey • Three-wave survey – Wave 1: Before serving (baseline measures) – Wave 2: After service (subjective experience) – Wave 3: Follow-up (behavior changes) • Replication of national survey – Again finds deliberation-voting link – Partial mediation by “subjective experience” – Additional effects linked to experience
    26. 26. Correlations w/ Experience Partial* r p Follow politics/public issues .118 < .001 Political volunteer work .096 .003 Talk politics (to learn) .096 .003 Discuss community issues .095 .003 Political group involvement .086 .006 Interest in local affairs .081 .010 Listen to news .066 .029 Talk politics (to persuade) .063 .036 Attend political events .060 .041 King County Survey: Effects Beyond Voting *Political knowledge, demographics, and other variables partialled out.
    27. 27. Broader Implications of Findings • Beyond the jury – Deliberative public meetings – Importance of consequential deliberation • Jury system in the U.S. – Preserving the jury system – Improving the service experience • International implications – South Africa, Eastern Europe, Mexico – South Korea and Japan
    28. 28. Deliberation in Initiative Elections
    29. 29. Principal Collaborators • UW graduate students – Justin Reedy – Chris Wells – Carolyn Lee • Other UW co-authors – Mark Forehand – Mark Smith – Cynthia Simmons
    30. 30. Signs of Low Voter Knowledge • Confusion about the initiative itself • Failure to weigh key arguments • Systematic misperception of relevant facts
    31. 31. Confusion about the Initiative Believed the initiative would… Voting For Voting Against Not Sure Enact the regulation 16% 2% 4% Repeal the reg. 11% 18% 46% Not sure 73% 81% 49% Total 100% 100% 100% I-841 (WA-2003) repealed a state regulation that aimed to reduce the frequency of ergonomics-related workplace injuries.
    32. 32. Confusion about the Initiative Believed the initiative would… Voting For Voting Against Not Sure Enact the regulation 16% 2% 4% Repeal the reg. 11% 18% 46% Not sure 73% 81% 49% Total 100% 100% 100% I-841 (WA-2003) repealed a state regulation that aimed to reduce the frequency of ergonomics-related workplace injuries.
    33. 33. Voter recall of I-841 pros/cons • Reinforcing existing bias 90% of proponents were able to give a pro argument, and 90% of opponents could offer a con • Not hearing the other side Fewer than 50% of either group were able to name an argument advanced by the other side Failure to Weigh Key Arguments
    34. 34. Systematic Misperception I-920 (WA-2006) would have repealed the Washington estate tax. Did voters know who was subject to the tax?
    35. 35. Unsure Supporters Opponents nsure Supporters Opponents Unsure Supporters Opponents % believe they are not % who know farms/ranches are exempt % unsure Systematic Misperception
    36. 36. Directional Misperception • Definition: holding empirical beliefs consistent with preexisting policy attitudes • Predictors: voters with endorsement knowledge link attitudes with empirical beliefs • Effects: voters with endorsement knowledge have independent effects for both anti-regulation attitudes and directional misperception • Current research
    37. 37. Citizens Initiative Review
    38. 38. Citizens’ Assembly
    39. 39. www.citizensassembly.gov.on.ca
    40. 40. http://www.cirwa.org
    41. 41. Principal Collaborators • Champions of Citizens Initiative Review – Ned Crosby (founder of Citizen Jury process) – Pat Benn – Paul Becker
    42. 42. Principal Collaborators • Evaluation Research Team – Don A. Dillman, Washington State – Todd Donovan, Western Washington – Laura Evans, U Washington – Carolyn N. Long, Washington State – Nicholas Lovrich, Washington State – Matthew Manweller, Central Washington – Patricia Moy, U Washington – Travis Ridout, Washington State – Todd Schaefer, Central Washington – Mark Smith, U Washington – Michael Treleaven, Gonzaga
    43. 43. Principal Collaborators • Evaluation Research Team – Don A. Dillman, Washington State – Todd Donovan, Western Washington – Laura Evans, U Washington – Carolyn N. Long, Washington State – Nicholas Lovrich, Washington State – Matthew Manweller, Central Washington – Patricia Moy, U Washington – Travis Ridout, Washington State – Todd Schaefer, Central Washington – Mark Smith, U Washington – Michael Treleaven, Gonzaga
    44. 44. The CIR Concept “One proposal being considered for state law would establish independent panels of Washington citizens to provide voters with more reliable information about initiatives. Each panel would consist of a cross-section of Washington citizens, who would spend a full week hearing testimony and deliberating on the merits of each initiative. The Secretary of State would publish the citizens' final reports in the Voters Pamphlet, and the panel proceedings would be made available online.”
    45. 45. Do voters support the CIR? SURVEY QUESTION: If a vote to adopt this measure were taken today, would you support it or oppose it?
    46. 46. Total Support 72% Dem. 69% GOP 70% Indep. Strong Yes Yes No Strong No Don’t Know Do voters support the CIR?
    47. 47. Design of the CIR • Independent Commission located in the legislative branch • 12-member oversight board –6 former CIR panelists –3 former CIR moderators –3 appointments by Secretary of State, Atty. General, and Governor • Board appoints Executive Director
    48. 48. Design Structure of the CIR • Review and Assessment –Citizen and moderators evaluate each year’s panels –Annual evaluation measures the impact and utility of CIR
    49. 49. Typical Review Panel Week • Day 1: Orientation and presentations by neutral witnesses • Days 2-3: Pro and con testimony, cross-examination, and deliberation • Day 4: Panel deliberation and critical feedback • Day 5: Final panel statement
    50. 50. CIR Legislation
    51. 51. Political Context • Democrats control both legislative bodies in Washington –House: 63D to 45R –Senate: 32D to 17R • Bi-partisan support –Still mostly Democratic –A few Republican supporters lost their seats in 2006
    52. 52. Current Status of CIR Bill • Prospects for 2007 Passage –Must be sent out of committee by the end of February –Passage required in at least one body by March 14 • If unsuccessful with legislature –Return in 2008 –Oregon, Colorado, California
    53. 53. Potential Benefits of CIR • Critical Goals – Reaching Sound Judgments [analysis of panel deliberations] – Producing Influential Information [election result analysis] • Additional Potential Benefits – Transforming Public Knowledge, Attitudes, and Habits [survey research] – Influencing Public Officials [interviews with officials; legislative analysis] – Altering Strategic Political Choices [field research on campaign organizations]
    54. 54. Conclusions • Broadened conception of deliberation reveals new areas for theory/research • Power of jury service within and beyond the American context • Limited deliberation in initiative elections • Deliberative reforms with electoral relevance • Invitation to students and faculty to join the deliberation research team

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