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Deliberative Democracy Now
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Book description

While millions feel politically marginalized, there is evidence that democracy is evolving into a conversation-based, public-centered practice called deliberative democracy. In this new form of democracy, public discussion, conscious reflection, and collective choice drive democratic governance and have the power to override democratic dysfunction. Illustrating this emerging possibility with examples from 28 years of US public engagement on LGBT equality, this book offers a practical model for the growth of deliberative democracy in which everyone can take part. It identifies the necessary social catalysts, the role of social networks and technology, and key pathways to addressing unconscious bias, hidden fears, and identity based polarization as they were overcome in the LGBT case. It demonstrates how each person can gain voice and influence in a deliberative democracy in which people once again become the true source of political power. This book will interest anyone who cares about the future of democracy.


'This book is well written, well argued, and theoretically informed. It adds an important contribution to the growing literature on deliberative democracy and public reason. Barvosa argues that the evolution of public thinking and policy on LGBT issues in the US over the past several decades is an instance of public reasoning / deliberative democracy at work. Scholars have been skeptical that the idea of deliberative democracy is at all plausible for large-scale democracies with deep diversity, such as the US. This book responds to those criticisms directly through a grounded, qualitative study of public deliberation over LGBT issues. In addition to examining LGBT rights discourse as an example of deliberative systems at work through law, media, the economy, etc., the author also elaborates in convincing detail on the mechanisms of such discourse. This book is not only highly original but also instructive for more work of a similar kind in the future.'

Lori Watson - University of San Diego

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  • 4 - Overcoming Cognitive Obstacles: Implicit Bias, Identity Threats, and Fear
    pp 171-210


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