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Challenging the conventional wisdom that Americans are less engaged than ever in national life and the democratic process, Talking Together paints the most comprehensive portrait available of public deliberation in the United States and explains why it is important to America’s future.
The authors’ original and extensive research reveals how, when, and why citizens talk to each other about the issues of the day. They find that—in settings ranging from one-on-one conversations to e-mail exchanges to larger and more formal gatherings—a surprising two-thirds of Americans regularly participate in public discussions about such pressing issues as the Iraq War, economic development, and race relations. Pinpointing the real benefits of public discourse while considering arguments that question its importance, Talking Together presents an authoritative and clear-eyed assessment of deliberation’s function in American governance. In the process, it offers concrete recommendations for increasing the power of talk to foster political action.
One The Discursive Turn: Citizens Talking Together
Part 1 Discursive Participation and Public Deliberation by Americans
Two How Much Deliberation?
Three Who Deliberates?
Four How Do Americans Deliberate?
Five The Civic and Political Impacts of Discursive Participation
Six A Case Study of Deliberation in Action: Americans Discuss Social Security
Part 2 Why Discursive Participation?
Seven Organizing Deliberation
Eight The Practice of Deliberation and the Hope for Democratic Renewal
Appendix Coding of Variables from Discursive Participation Survey of the General Public