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Deliberative Democracy Wiki

Theory and Practice on Deliberative Democracy

Part of the R&D efforts of the deliberative democracy institiute


Our Mission

To develop a culture, technologies and methods of deliberation and democratic decision making.

To realize our mission, we are developing a theory of deliberative democracy, which will support the methodologies and technologies. The theory is based on interdisciplinary sciences, from philosophy, brain research and literature on deliberative democracy in social sciences.

Editing & Contributions: If you want to help editing or writing in this wiki, please contact tal dot yaron at gmail dot com.

Introduction

Deliberative democracy is a form of democracy in which citzenry deliberation is central to decision-making. It put high value on envolving larger parts of the population in decision making of the governing bodies. citizen should have an equal voice and equal influence in the shaping of public solutions. It manifests that when making a public decisions, every option should be taken into account, even if it’s owners do not have much education in the subject. The reason for that, is that every citizen has her own interests in the public decision, and they may be influenced by the choices the decision body will make.

However, letting every citizen participate in the discussion and influence the option taken by the public, results in tedious and endless meetings. Many citizens want to shape the solution, while many others want to propose their own unique solutions or criticize the ideas brought to the table. Equal deliberation may be a very cumbersome process that takes huge amounts of energy and time. If all the residents of a small town would have the same influence on the solutions proposed, the deliberation may take years. As the body of decision makers grows, so do the time and energy it takes to make an equal decision. Because of its tediousness many citizens prefer not to participate in it, therefore making equal deliberation null.

So, if we want to keep the ideals of deliberation of real equality, while making the process efficient and suited for the participating of thousands and millions, we have to learn how deliberation works. What are her elements and how do they interact with each other? If we will be able to understand the elements we will be able to suggest more efficient ways to conduct equal public deliberation, and even invent a new application that may help larger groups of citizens engage in the public decisions.

In this website we will suggest a theory that will explain the elements of deliberation and their interactions. We will then investigate the common practices of deliberation and analyze them according to the theory. Lastly, we will suggest a future process for deliberative democracy and develop apps for deliberative democracy. The current app we are working on is delib.org. The code for delib can be found here.

The Challenges

Values of Deliberation

In a democracy, all citizens are considered equal, with equal rights to take part in public decision making. To ensure that all citizens could take part in decision making, scholars of deliberative democracy suggested several values that deliberators should follow in their deliberative process.

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Challenges in deliberation

The Elements

To successfully understand deliberation, we suggest that we first have to understand the elements of decision making. The elements are divided into several areas. The first area is the area of cognitive elements, which are the elements that interacts in the brain to facilitate a decision. Next is the area of the group in decision making - which elements are crucial for decision making in groups. Then comes the area of communication medium. In this area we will describe the elements that influence the transformation of information between the group members. In the next areas, we will deal with the psychological, sociological and organizational elements.

The cognitive elements of decision making

The basic entities of decision making in a group, are her members. Every member that takes part in decision, uses cognitive process to gather information and make decision. So, the first step in understanding deliberation is to describe these personal cognitive elements that members are using to make their decisions. When we will understand the personal cognitive elements, we will be able to start to understand the more complex interaction between the members.

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Neuropsychology Elements in decision making

Decsions are conducted in a "logical" the manner through the cognitive elements of decision making. Yet this "logical" thinking is mostly not common. usually people are influenced by an "illogical" ways of thinking. scientists from several disciplines were able to describe these "illogical" ways of thinking, and some of the neural and cognitive mechanism that produce the "illogical" thinking.

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Group Elements in Decision Making

Every deliberation takes place in the context of a group. The group settings and properties may have large influence on the psychology of the members and the outcome of deliberation. Also, during deliberation, group may change, as different stake-holders find interest in the decision making. Understanding the factors that within the group and between the group and other-groups, is essential to understanding mastering of deliberation.

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Medium Elements in Decision Making

The Medium which the group is using may have great influence on the deliberative process. For instance, synchronic medium may allow only one participant at a time talk, thus prolonging the time needed for deliberation exponentially as the number of equal participants grow. On the other hand, a-synchronic medium may allow simultaneity of information send and receiving, and thus, reduce the time needed for deliberation. In this chapter we will talk about the effect of the medium on deliberation.

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Organizational Elements in Decision Making

Organizations in Decision Making

Processes

Face To Face

Personal Decision Making

system 1 decision making

Group Deliberation

Methods in deliberative democracy

Technologies of Deliberation

Technologies for deliberation

See Also

old main page

References