Power, ethics, and deliberative democracy: exploring the contribution of passionate impartiality in diverse communities

Carcasson, Martin, speaker
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Practitioners and theorists involved with the deliberative democracy movement are constantly striving for the unreachable ideal of a democracy where a broad, representative group of stakeholders work through difficult issues collaboratively and come to a reasoned public judgment. Critics, however, express concerns that deliberative democracy efforts often close off diverse voices and atypical communication styles, and thus unduly support dominate voices and the status quo. Experts, on the other hand, fear that deliberative democracy perspectives can often exacerbate public misinformation. This presentation will examine the concept of "passionate impartiality" that underlies the work of the CSU Center for Public Deliberation as a potential tool for negotiating these difficult tensions and improving the quality of public discourse and community problem-solving.
Presented at the Fall 2012 Center for Collaborative Conservation (https://collaborativeconservation.org/) Seminar and Discussion Series, "Power and Ethics in (Collaborative) Conservation", September 25, 2012, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. This series focused on the work that the CCC's Collaborative Conservation Fellows have been doing across the Western U.S. and around the world.
Martín Carcasson, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Communication Studies department of Colorado State University, and the founder and director of the CSU Center for Public Deliberation (CPD). He also serves as a Senior Public Engagement Fellow with Public Agenda, a nationally recognized public engagement firm based in New York, and is adjunct faculty for the University of Denver Conflict Resolution Program. His research focuses on contemporary public affairs, and the interdisciplinary theory and practice of deliberative democracy and collaborative governance. The CPD serves as an impartial resource for the Northern Colorado community dedicated to enhancing local democracy through improved public communication, community problem solving, and collaborative decision-making. Dr. Carcasson trains students and community members to serve as impartial facilitators, who then work with local governments, school boards, and community organizations to design, facilitate, and report on innovative public forums on important issues. His research has been published in Rhetoric & Public Affairs, the Journal of Public Deliberation, Higher Education Exchange, the International Journal of Conflict Resolution, New Directions in Higher Education, Public Sector Digest, and the Quarterly Journal of Speech.
Includes recorded speech and PowerPoint presentation.
Rights Access
deliberative practice
CDP projects
public deliberation
democratic communication
Associated Publications