Tom Atlee: Citizen Deliberation Small & Large

Tom Atlee

Can a small citizen deliberation have more impact than a giant one?

Among the many trends I see in my work on democratic innovation I highlight two here, one in Canada, one in the US. One was very large, including over 500 registered voters. The other had only 12 citizens. Both demonstrated effective conversations among highly diverse people. One was also a deliberative problem-solving and visioning exercise. One had significant mainstream news coverage. Coverage of the other was innovative almost to the point of revolutionary. In this message I will give you an appreciative comparison of the two – particularly highlighting their size and media coverage – and, in closing, offer questions to consider.

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