Deliberation and democracy : the death of neutrality

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2012-12
Authors
Urosevich, Kerrie Ann
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2012]
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Abstract
In her 2008 keynote address at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Donna E. Shalala shared, "For Americans, freedom of speech, of religion, the right to assemble or petition the government to redress our grievances, and of the press are not privileges--or benefits granted and capable of being rescinded. They are rights, guaranteed by the Constitution, in a free society."1 Processes used to mobilize communities to assemble, petition and/or redress can vary quite dramatically and every process is replete with complex political realities defined by varying degrees of power and historical influences. Facilitators who are asked to design these processes are also asked to navigate competing narratives and ensure the community's outcomes are met. The facilitators have traditionally been viewed as "neutral third parties." This dissertation will argue that a neutral position of engagement is often not sufficient in meeting community's needs and can at times even be detrimental by reinforcing the status quo, which ignited the community to rally in the first place. This study investigates two community efforts, facilitated by facilitators who view themselves as multipartial, or working for the interests of all participants affected by the outcomes of facilitated processes. This may involve spending more time with particular participants as needed, advocating for more diverse participation, including alternative narratives, diligently working to balance power in a group or providing strategic advising and/or coaching along the way. In both studies, the complexities of stepping beyond the bounds of neutrality are revealed. Through analysis of participant observation, first hand experience, one-on-one interviews with facilitators and participants, process evaluations, and organizational documents, this dissertation posits that facilitations are multifarious and intricate, demanding facilitators to discard neutrality from their toolboxes and embrace what it means to be multipartial in order for democracy to thrive.
Description
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
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deliberation, neutrality, conflict resolution, public policy, deliberative democracy
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Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Political Science.
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