The Crisis of Democracy and the Science of Deliberation: Citizens can avoid polarization and make sound decisions

John DRYZEK, Andre Bachtiger, Simone Chambers, Joshua Cohen, James Druckman, Andrea Felicetti, James Fishkin, David Farrell, Archon Fung, Amy Gutmann, Helene Landemore, Jane Mansbridge, Sophie Marien, Simon NIEMEYER, Michael Neblo, Maja Setala, Rune Slothuus, Jane Suiter, D. Thompson, Mark Warren

Research output: Contribution to Newspaper/Magazine/BulletinArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

That there are more opportunities than ever for citizens to express their views may be, counterintuitively, a problem facing democracy—the sheer quantitative overabundance overloads policymakers and citizens, making it difficult to detect the signal amid the noise. This overload has been accompanied by marked decline in civility and argumentative complexity. Uncivil behavior by elites and pathological mass communication reinforce each other. How do we break this vicious cycle? Asking elites to behave better is futile so long as there is a public ripe to be polarized and exploited by demagogues and media manipulators. Thus, any response has to involve ordinary citizens; but are they up to the task? Social science on “deliberative democracy” offers reasons for optimism about citizens' capacity to avoid polarization and manipulation and to make sound decisions. The real world of democratic politics is currently far from the deliberative ideal, but empirical evidence shows that the gap can be closed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages1144–1146
Number of pages3
Volume363
No.6432
Specialist publicationScience
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2019

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    DRYZEK, J., Bachtiger, A., Chambers, S., Cohen, J., Druckman, J., Felicetti, A., Fishkin, J., Farrell, D., Fung, A., Gutmann, A., Landemore, H., Mansbridge, J., Marien, S., NIEMEYER, S., Neblo, M., Setala, M., Slothuus, R., Suiter, J., Thompson, D., & Warren, M. (2019). The Crisis of Democracy and the Science of Deliberation: Citizens can avoid polarization and make sound decisions. Science, 363(6432), 1144–1146. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaw2694