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Deliberation Day Hardcover – March 10, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ackerman and Fishkin, two of America's most thoughtful democracy scholars, argue powerfully for making democracy deliberative and deliberation democratic. Calling for a national holiday on which citizens might engage in deliberative practices, they offer a pragmatic and appealing case for a brand of deliberation that has gone missing in America's media and polling circus that passes today for democracy." Benjamin Barber, author of Jihad v. McWorld"

From the Publisher

Also available by Bruce Ackerman: The Stakeholder Society & Democracy and Deliberation
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (March 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300101015
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300101010
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,513,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By William Corbett on October 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Full disclosure: I just started a non-profit with the authors to educate people about ideas like Deliberation Day. Our website is at [...] Here's why I joined the effort.

At the height of the Cold War, a majority of Americans could not correctly answer whether the Soviet Union was in NATO. It was not.

Prior to war with Iraq in 2003, half the public thought that Iraqis were among the 9/11 hijackers. There were no Iraqis.

When British citizens were polled recently on whether the nation's constitution is written or unwritten, a quarter answered correctly, a quarter incorrectly, and one-half confessed ignorance. The British "constitution" is unwritten.

Six decades of modern public opinion research establishes the general public's unawareness of important factual background to major civic and political debates. That's not snobbery. That's fact, and it's completely understandable. Time spent on public affairs competes with the need for information on more personal matters, such as price and quality of a home or car, in which ignorance can have a direct cost.

In contrast, no voter perceives a consequence for voting offhandedly. The outcome of a major election never hinges on a single ballot.

Today's political techniques exacerbate the problem of offhanded voting. The science of focus group and public opinion research enables political professionals to identify and exploit the power of different images and slogans, rather than listen to and address the voters' priority concerns. Candidates' time and campaign funds are devoted to efforts to take advantage of preconceptions, not on efforts to inform or engage.
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful By David C N Swanson on March 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Deliberation Day would be the name of a two-day national holiday (everyone gets one of the two days) scheduled two weeks prior to a presidential election. Anyone who uses their day off to attend a full-day session discussing the issues in the election will be paid $150.
Fishkin has conducted extensive deliberative polling -- sessions in which large groups representative of a society discuss a political issue in depth. He's found that positions shift dramatically, though not necessarily in a predictable direction, as a result of these sessions, that these shifts are the result of increased knowledge, and that participants' new positions have staying power.
Ackerman and Fishkin argue that Deliberation Day would better inform and involve a woefully ignorant public, in part through the effects it would have on candidates, the media, activists, and political parties. Testing a sound bite with a focus group would not predict its usefulness in winning over a public that would be deliberating the issue. Politicians would be obliged to develop positions that could withstand examination and substantive debate.
Deliberation Day activities would begin with a live televised debate between candidates answering questions from participants in an advance deliberation session. Written materials would also be provided by the candidates. Deliberators would discuss the issues in groups of 15 and take questions to plenaries of 500 at which local representatives of each campaign would respond to questions. Back in their smaller groups, deliberators would discuss their concerns further.
When I first heard of this idea, I loved it until I found out a televised debate would be involved.
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9 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
You stupid regular people! How dare you not be as involved as Bruce Ackerman thinks you should be? That's the basic tone of this book, as Yale elites come up with a far-fetched plan to pay silly Americans to be involved in the political process. For anyone familiar with the Iowa Caucuses, this is what the book is advocating for all Americans every presidential election year. What's more, it advocates it in a snobish tone throughout, the authors barely concealing their contempt for people who are too busy earning a living, raising their kids, and doing the hundreds of other things required of regular people to spend time having oxford style debates about public policy issues. True nonsense, and certainly not worth the price.
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0 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Steven M. Leydorf on November 29, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition
Great book.

I'd like to add deliberation day to the 11 other vacation days that Americans use to pack the libraries and civic halls to memorialize heros. Let's see:

Christmas - Commemorating Jesus' birth,
Memorial Day - Commemorating falling American soldiers,
Veterans' day - Commemorating ... Let's see.... hhmm.... I forget... I thought that I already did this on Memorial Day?
Columbus Day - Commemorating the discovery of America.
MLK Birthday - Now THAT's a day that Americans use to commemorate a great American's work and legacy.

Amazon currently offers this book for $0.75. I suggest that EVERY person on the right give a copy of this book to a friend in the middle to show how the people on the left want to fritter away the national resources with junk like Deliberation Day.

It is not worth the price. Buy Ackerman's We the People series instead.
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