Developing Deliberative Practice: Understanding Community Politics through Public Deliberation

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Researchers from the California NIF Network, Carole Paterson and Craig Paterson, and Sandy Tosti, Solano County Library, are the authors of this Kettering Foundation Report. They describe bringing together the leaders of four deliberative projects held over several years in one California county. At the beginning of the study, the researchers believed that forums made a difference. In their collective review, they realized how much change actually occurs as a result of deliberative democratic practice in community. The researchers reveal how the forums that occurred in the past affected the ability of organizations to work together more effectively, and for public officials to make better-informed decisions from what they hear from forums. The reflective work that was the basis for this report uncovered additional issues that require public deliberation and formed new relationships to help move that work forward.

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Theory and Practice