Realizing Deliberative Democracy: Strategies for Democratic Consultation

  • James S. Fishkin


The central and continuing problem of democratic reform has been to build institutions that realize two fundamental democratic aspirations: inclusion and thoughtfulness. On the one hand, we need institutions that somehow represent or include all the members of a polity. On the other hand, we need to consult those members under conditions where they are effectively motivated to think about the power they are being asked to exercise. All over the world, democratic reforms bring power to the people through institutions that increasingly emphasize inclusiveness, but the very conditions that allow for more inclusion seem to have undermined collective thoughtfulness. This trade-off is not inevitable, though. Instead, it is due to the lack of institutional imagination that has guided most modern democratic reforms. This chapter is aimed at expanding the democratic toolkit of mechanisms for public consultation, showing that it is indeed possible to combine inclusiveness and thoughtfulness, rather than force us to choose between them.


Public Opinion Public Consultation Deliberative Democracy Small Group Discussion Quota Sampling 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Works Cited

  1. Ackerman, Bruce, and James S. Fishkin. 2004. Deliberation Day. New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Black, Duncan. 1952. The Theory of Committees and Elections. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Downs, Anthony. 1957. An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  4. Fishkin, James S. 1997. The Voice of the People: Public Opinion and Democracy. New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Hamilton, Alexander. 1787. “Federalist No. 10.” The Federalist Papers. Clinton Rossiter, ed. 1961. New York: New American Library, 77–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hibbing, John R., and Elizabeth Thiess-Morse. 2002. Stealth Democracy: Americans’ Beliefs About How Government Should Work. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. “Leaders, the Public and Democracy.” 1995. Society 35(5): 2.Google Scholar
  8. Luskin, Robert C., James Fishkin, and Roger Jowell. 2002. “Considered Opinions: Deliberative Polling in Britain.” British Journal of Political Science 32: 455–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Mathews, David. 1994. Politics for People. Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  10. McLean, Iain, Christian List, James Fishkin, and Robert Luskin. 2000. “Does Deliberation Produce Preference Structuration?” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, August 30–September 4 available at (accessed on July 1, 2006).Google Scholar
  11. Morris, Chris et al. 1997. “Is This the Man of the Century?: Forget Mandela, Einstein, Gandhi, and Mao; Here’s Ataturk.” The Guardian, October 30, 1.Google Scholar
  12. Posner, Richard. 2003. Law, Pragmatism, and Democracy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Riker, William H. 1982. Liberalism against Populism. San Francisco, CA: W.H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  14. Schumpeter, Joseph A. 1942. Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  15. Sunstein, Cass R. 2003. “The Law of Group Polarization.” In James S. Fishkin and Peter Laslett eds., Debating Deliberative Democracy. Oxford: Basil Blackwell 80–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Talbert, Richard J.A, trans. and ed. 1988. “Lycurgus.” In Plutarch on Sparta. New York: Penguin Books, 1–46.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ethan J. Leib and Baogang He 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • James S. Fishkin

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations