Taking Democracy to Scale

In 2002 AmericaSpeaks convened, “Taking Democracy to Scale,” a gathering of leading researchers and practitioners in the emerging “field” of deliberative democracy. The aim of the conference was to build a “movement” for deliberative democracy at the national level.  The result was the creation of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, a network of practitioners and researchers representing more than 30 organizations and universities, collaborating to strengthen the field of deliberative democracy.

Through its principal activities, the Consortium seeks to support research activities and to advance practice at all levels of government, in North America and around the world. Current initiatives are:

  • Knowledge-Building, a task group that convenes scholars and practitioners from around the world to share the results of their work and to identify new directions for scholarly inquiry.
  • Online Deliberation Group seeks to identify, describe, and promote the best efforts to engage the public in decision-making using the Internet.
  • FedNet (federal officials) is a knowledge-sharing network of more than 50 agency managers who are passionate about the prospects of deliberative democracy to improve decision-making.

Initial funding for the Deliberative Democracy Consortium was provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. We are grateful to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund for their ongoing support.

Another important product of the conference was the publication of The Deliberative Democracy Handbook. The Deliberative Democracy Handbook, which was published by Jossey-Bass, was created by conference participants because no resource existed at that time that summarized the leading models and best practices in the field of public deliberation.

To learn more about the field of deliberative democracy and the work of the Consortium please visit their website.