Chapter

A Case Study of Deliberation In Action

in Talking Together

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780226389868
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226389899 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226389899.003.0006
A Case Study of Deliberation In Action

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This chapter discusses the findings of an in-depth case study of a national effort to foster public deliberation about Social Security in the United States: a deliberative forum entitled Americans Discuss Social Security (ADSS). It examines in detail who deliberates, how, and to what effect. The premise of ADSS was that public talk matters and would affect deliberators and public policy. During 1998, ADSS hosted public forums in five cities (Austin, Texas; Buffalo, New York; Seattle, Washington; Des Moines, Iowa; and Phoenix, Arizona). The forums were held on Saturdays in large convention centers to facilitate broad participation and lasted about four to five hours. The chapter looks at the deliberative dynamics of the five ADSS forums, and then discusses the impacts of one of them: the session held on May 30, 1998, with 408 residents of the Phoenix metropolitan area. It shows that going to the ADSS forum did little to affect political participation, mostly because of the already high level of engagement of the attendees.

Keywords: public deliberation; Social Security; United States; public talk; Americans; Phoenix; political participation; public forums

Chapter.  6198 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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