14 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2008
Interest in deliberative democracy grows. Its appeal is understandable. Deliberation, with its emphasis on distributed speech rights and information exchange, has the potential to increase the quality and quantity of political interest and participation (Habermas 1996).
While the benefits of deliberative democracy are easy to imagine, they can be hard to achieve. Like any form of civic education, the success of a deliberative endeavor depends on choices made by its designers. For a deliberative endeavor to increase participation, or affect how a target audience thinks about an important political matter, its informational content must, at a minimum,
* attract the audience's attention and hold it for a non-trivial amount of time,
* affect the audience's memories in particular ways (not any change will do), and
* cause them to retain subsequent beliefs - or choose different behaviors - than they would have had without deliberation (Lupia 2002).
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