We Have to Choose: Democracy and Deliberative Politics


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We Have to Choose is a working draft Kettering report written primarily for civic organizations, centers, and institutes that sponsor deliberative forums and/or prepare people to conduct such forums. This report attempts to help these organizations find a pedagogy or way to explain deliberation, which has to be learned but can’t be taught through instruction alone.

Public deliberation can’t be confined to formally organized forums. And democracy can’t be confined to collective decision making, even if it is done by deliberative means. Although a means of making decisions, public deliberation can’t be isolated from what happens before and after a decision is made. Before citizens will make decisions, they have to see a connection between their concerns and political issues. This begins to happen (or doesn’t begin) with who names the problems and the way they are named or described.

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Public Deliberation

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