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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

As deliberative democratic theory has moved from a macro theory of democratic legitimacy to prescriptions for institutional design, questions about what constitutes deliberative communication have taken on increasing practical importance. At the same time, empirical data has accumulated to answer those questions. We review findings on the kinds of talk that produce either mutually-agreed upon decisions or better understanding of the issues at stake, equality among speakers, and impacts on policies or participants after the forum is over. Deliberative talk in facilitated settings today does not resemble the abstract, dispassionate reason-giving imagined by many theorists of deliberation. However, precisely for that reason, deliberative talk today is producing some of the benefits claimed for it.

Keywords: communication, rationality, storytelling, agreement, emotion, deliberative impacts, equality

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