Toward Wiser Public Judgment
193 pages
English

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193 pages
English
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Description

This work revisits and expands upon Yankelovich¹s seminal 1991 book, Coming to Public Judgment, which argued that people advance through several distinct stages to form politically meaningful judgments about public issues. In particular, citizens must "work through" the temptation to opt for easy answers or engage in wishful thinking, reconcile conflicting values, and come to terms with tough tradeoffs, before they can truly support a new course of action. The present work examines these themes in light of changing societal conditions, from the advent of the Internet and the weakening of traditional media to the proliferation of urgent and complex problems that cannot be put off without courting disaster.


In his lead chapter, Dan Yankelovich urges us to move away from a "misleading model of public opinion" that "dominates the expert culture of our society, including journalists, scientists, business leaders, scholars, professional experts, and political leaders." He and the other contributors (Will Friedman, Keith Melville, Robert Kingston, Alison Kadlec, Steven A. Rosell, and Heidi Gantwerk) describe methods used by organizations like Public Agenda, National Issues Forums, and Viewpoint Learning, Inc., to advance the public's learning curve through various forms of civic engagement, education, dialogue and deliberation.


They provide case studies of education reform in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and math and science initiatives in the Kansas City area, and examples of programs that have focused on issues ranging from energy and health care to US-Muslim relations. One chapter is a dialogue between Yankelovich and Friedman.


While our political culture resonates to the public's desire for a stronger voice, it fails to ensure that this voice reflects anything more than the spin, spectacle, and excessive partisanship that dominate today's public discourse. Toward Wiser Public Judgment offers insights and strategies to counteract these troubling trends.


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Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 25 février 2011
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780826517401
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1750€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Exrait

TOWARDWISERPUBLICJUDGMENT
E D I T E D B Y DANIEL YANKELOVICH ANDWILL FRIEDMAN
Toward Wiser Public Judgment
Toward Wiser Public Judgment
Daniel Yankelovic and Will Friedman, Editors
Vanderbilt University Press nashville
© 2 by Public Agenda Publised by Vanderbilt University Press Nasville, Tennessee 2 All rigts reserved First printing 2
his book is printed on acid-free paper made from % post-consumer recycled content. Manufactured in te United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Toward wiser public judgment / Daniel Yankelovic and Will Friedman, editors. p. cm. ISBN 8--82-8-8 (clot edition : alk. paper) ISBN 8--82-- (pbk. edition : alk. paper) . Political participation—United States. 2. Public opinion—United States. . Education—United States. 4. Educational cange—United States. I. Yankelovic, Daniel. II. Friedman, Will. JK4.T 2 2'.42—dc22 22
Contents
Foreword,by Sterling SpeirnAcknowledgments
Introduction How Americans Make Up heir Minds: he Dynamics of te Public’s Learning Curve and Its Meaning for American Public Life
Daniel Yankelovic and Will Friedman
Part I. The Concept of Public Judgment 1How to Acieve Sounder Public Judgment Daniel Yankelovic 2Furter Reflections: A Dialogue between Dan Yankelovic and Will Friedman
Part II. Applications 3he Experience of te National Issues Forums Keit Melville and Robert J. Kingston
vii
xi
1
3
5
1
1
3
1
4
5
hirty-Five Years of Working on Public Judgment at Public Agenda
Alison Kadlec and Will Friedman Moving Beyond Polls and Focus Groups
Steven A. Rosell and Heidi Gantwerk
Part III. Exploring Next Steps 6Coming to Public Judgment: Strengtening Impacts, Exploring National Possibilities
vi
Will Friedman
Notes Contributors Index
7
3
110
131
157
167
169
Foreword
In fields ranging from tecnology, medicine, and science to business, com-munication, and culture, we see dynamic and rapid cange. Neverteless, in te midst of suc promise and ingenuity, we reac te end of te first decade of te twenty-first century facing a growing number of troubling and systemic issues tat we ave come to label as “intractable.” To name tree in te United States, te long-term effectiveness and sustainability of our edu-cational systems, our ealt and ealt care systems, and even our economic and financial systems are matters of grave concern.  As stewards of financial fortunes devoted to making tings better, pri-vate foundations are encouraged to look for te root causes tat underlie te conditions we seek to ameliorate. As a key source of funding our society’spluralistic researc and development agenda, we look for opportunities were our financial investments can spur innovation, usually targeting te capacity of civil society to experiment wit new approaces to solving social and economic problems. InToward Wiser Public Judgment, te autors pre-sent a straigtforward case: tat our most difficult common problems will only become manageable wen we turn our powers of reinvention on te public problem-solving processitself.  We can begin by framing te central contemporary question of our politics not by using te familiar dicotomy ofrigts versus responsibilities, but by asking watskillsandsettingsbest enable us to make ard collective coices. Put anoter way, embracing te value of elping people elp tem-selves in more tan individual or familial contexts, ow do we increase te capacity of groups of democratic actors to tackle intractable problems, come to sared and deeply eld judgments, and make ard coices tat reflect te common good? his book not only provides insigts and analysis but also reports on more tan two decades of te practical application of “next-
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viii
Toward Wiser Public Judgment
generation” approaces tat sow great promise in fostering wiser and more enduring public judgments.  he call to support more civic entrepreneurs in teir efforts to create te conditions and opportunities for ordinary people to reengage in te critical work of democratic deliberation speaks forcefully to several critical issues of our day. Wit growing concern over te fate of newspapers and journalism, tis book establises a deeper context for te role information plays in te formation of public judgment. Wit increasing concern over te role and performance of our elected officials at local, state, and national levels, it de-fines effective leadersip anew, demonstrating ow empowered leaders play an essential role in te formation of public judgment.  A recent newspaper eadline sums up te crisis of democracy tat we face today: “Mood of te voters—all outrage, no action.” Outrage witout action leads only to resentment and a susceptibility to quick fixes tat never truly resolve complex, long-standing problems. We need a fres approac. he American pilosoper Jon Dewey said tat “democracy as to be born anew every generation,” and e regarded te essence of democracy as ow a community collectively learns, ow it generates and uses someting e called social intelligence.Toward Wiser Public Judgmentsows ow te pro-cess of coming to public judgment can confront ead-on te all too natural inclination we ave for wisful tinking and easy answers. Wat’s miss-ing are new approaces to deliberation and dialogue focusing on values and coices, and taking seriously ow individuals—ordinary people in a democ-racy—ave socially, emotionally, cognitively, and istorically solved teir collective problems.  hose of us wo focus most of our efforts on supporting te volun-tary actions and associations of te nonprofit, independent sector often cite te observations of te Frenc statesman Alexis de Tocqueville, wo in te nineteent century marveled at te ability of Americans to form voluntary associations in te spere of private, civil society. Wat we must also re-member is Tocqueville’s insigt tat tis capacity to organize—and te skills, trust, and experiences tat enable and produce tis capacity—are all derived from a politics tat results in real public problem solving. he genius e observed was tat wat Americans learn from politics, tey take to all te associations of civic life. “It is witin political associations,” Tocqueville observed, “tat Americans of all conditions, of all minds, and of all ages get te general taste for association daily and familiarize temselves wit its use.” he result is a society of joiners and active citizens: “here [in politi-cal associations] tey see eac oter in great number, speak to eac oter, understand eac oter, and in common become animated for all sorts of
Foreword
undertakings. Afterwards, tey carry into civil life te notions tey ave acquired and make tem serve a tousand uses.” Toward Wiser Public Judgmentis a call to action for a renewal of te autentic and effective public engagement essential to making sound public coices and public policies in te critical years before us.
Sterling Speirn, President he W. K. Kellogg Foundation
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