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Political Communication and Deliberation

Political Communication and Deliberation

February 2008 | 344 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The act of deliberation is the act of reflecting carefully on a matter and weighing the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions to a problem. It aims to arrive at a decision or judgment based not only on facts and data but also on values, emotions, and other less technical considerations. Though a solitary individual can deliberate, it more commonly means making decisions together, as a small group, an organization, or a nation. Political Communication and Deliberation takes a unique approach to the field of political communication by viewing key concepts and research through the lens of deliberative democratic theory. This is the first text to argue that communication is central to democratic self-governance primarily because of its potential to facilitate public deliberation. Thus, it offers political communication instructors a new perspective on familiar topics, and it provides those teaching courses on political deliberation with their first central textbook. This text offers students practical theory and experience, teaching them skills and giving them a more direct understanding of the various subtopics in public communication.
1. Democracy and Deliberation
Three Criteria for the Democratic Process  
How Deliberation Makes Democracy Work  
2. Conversation and Discussion
Historical Notes on Political Chatter  
Imagining a Deliberative Conversation  
Informal Conversation  
Moving from Conversation to Discussion  
Dialogue and Deliberation  
3. Mediated Deliberation and Public Opinion
Expressing Ourselves Through the Ages  
What Is Mediated Deliberation?  
Do We Have a Deliberative Media System  
Broadcasting (and Shaping) the Public’s Voice  
Visions of a More Deliberative Media  
4. Deliberative Elections
The Golden Days of Elections  
A Deliberative Electoral Process and the Deliberative Voter  
The Modern Electoral System  
The Deliberative Voter  
Deliberative Electoral Reforms  
5. How Government Deliberates
A Foundational Moment in Deliberative History  
What Would a Deliberative Legislature Look Like?  
Legislative Deliberation  
Deliberation and the Executive Branch  
Judicial Deliberation  
6. Deliberation in the Jury Room
Legitimacy and the Origins of the Jury System  
Defining High-Quality Jury Deliberation  
Jury Deliberation and Decisions  
Connecting Jury Service and Civic Life  
Making Juries More Deliberative  
7. Citizens and Officials in Public Meetings
Archetypal Public Meetings  
Convening a Deliberative Public Meeting  
The Default Process: A Public Hearing  
Deliberative Meetings with Elected Officials  
Citizen-Centered Public Meetings  
8. Deliberative Communities and Societies
Old-School Deliberation in Historic Social Movements  
Visiting a Deliberative Community  
Societal Analysis  
Institutional Infrastructure  
Actively Creating Deliberative Society  
9. International Deliberation
From the League of Nations to the European Union  
Conceptualizing International Deliberation  
Is a Global Constitution Possible?  
A Global Public Sphere and Discursive Designs  
10. Toward a Deliberative Democracy
Putting the Pieces Together  
Taking Action  
About the Author

"Political Communication and Deliberation is a groundbreaking volume. It advances our theorizing about deliberation, analyzes deliberative practices in a wide range of venues, and offers prescriptions for improving our democracy."

Robert Asen
University of Wisconsin, Madison

"In this remarkable book, Gastil shows how the concept of deliberation can be used to understand and evaluate the functioning of diverse political institutions, from elections to the media. With a superb command of diverse literatures, along with his characteristic good sense and wit, Gastil makes clear just how important talk is to a democratic society. Chock full of novel insights into political dynamics that we often take for granted, Political Communication and Deliberation will be of interest to both fledgling and seasoned students of politics."

Francesca Polletta
University of California-Irvine

"Professor Gastil has been a leading voice in the deliberative democracy movement for the last 15 years, and with this book he has created a wonderful resource that adeptly captures the broad, valuable work being done both inside and outside academia concerning public deliberation and political communication. I hope this book will help spark a whole new generation of courses focused on this critical topic."

Martín Carcasson
Colorado State University

"Political Communication and Deliberation is a thorough, thoughtful, readable, accessible, and smart book. Gastil's analyses and cases will surely spark deliberation. It is a gift to citizens, students, scholarly inquiry and the future of our democratic system."

Sharon E. Jarvis
University of Texas at Austin and the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Participation

"The book works well as a textbook, a research summary that identifies where scholars can usefully devote their attention, and an inspiration to concerned citizens looking for realistic ways to improve democracy. Unusual in a work at the highest scholarly standards, there are even flashes of refreshing humor."

R.E. O'Connor
National Science Foundation
Choice Magazine

The course was canceled at the last minute in fall 2014. However, I plan to use the book when I teach the course in 2016.

Mr Benson Sexton
Communication, Lindsey Wilson College
January 15, 2015

Elements of this book are great, but the focus on deliberation didn't fit the survey nature of the course.

Professor Steve Hunt
Communication Dept, Illinois State University
September 1, 2010

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