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Participation & Deliberation in Democratic Governance



My research and teaching aim to understand whether and how participation and deliberation can make contemporary public governance more fair and effective. On this site, you can take a look at what innovative citizens, officials, and activists are doing to improve public education, policing, the condition of the environment, and even the lives of workers in sweatshops in America and abroad.

These ideas of participation and deliberation seem straightforward, but they are complex, even daunting, in both theory and practice. But when citizens and leaders figure out how to practice democracy effectively in their own corners of social and political life, democracy pays off like nothing else can.

Citizen Science


Check out participedia.net. This is a wiki-project that I'm working on with Mark Warren, Paul Daniell, and many others to open up the process of building knowledge around democratic innovation. Contribute an article!

Recent Writing


Does Transparency Improve GovernanceAnnual Review of Political Science with Stephen Kosack.

"Targeting Transparency" Science Magazine (2013) with David Weil and Mary Graham.

"Infotopia: Unleashing the Democratic Power of Transparency" (2013).

"Six Models of Internet + Politics" with Hollie Russon Gilman and Jennifer Shkabatur (2013).

"Continuous Institutional Innovation and the Pragmatic Conception of Democracy" Polity (Oct. 2012)

"Reinventing Democracy in Latin America" Perspectives in Politics (Dec. 2011)

"The Participedia Project: An Introduction" International Journal of Public Management (Dec. 2011)

“A Tea Party for Obama” in The American Prospect (April 15, 2010).

“Open Government, Open Society” in Collaboration, Transparency, and Participation in Practice (New York: O’Reilly Media, 2010) (with David Weil): 105-114.

“Engaging Your Constituents: Beyond the Usual Suspects” in Capitol Ideas (March/April 2010): 46.

Working Papers


"Viral Engagement" with Jennifer Shkabatur (2012).

"How Much Disagreement is Good for Democratic Deliberation?" (January 2011 draft, with Kevin Esterling and Taeku Lee)

"The Principle of Affected Interests: An Interpretation and Defense" (March 30, 2010 draft)

What's New?


MyFairElection.com
A project to use the power of crowd sourcing to fix 2012 elections.
  • Watch my video here.
  • HuffPo article here.

I got a nice plug from the Tobin Project.

I talked with Dave Levine at Hearsay Culture about technology and transparency on 7.13.2011 (show 143).

My PBL Academy Lecture at the Hague, Netherlands on Why Technology Hasn't Revolutionized Politics (6.10.2011).

My Academic iPad - how I use the iPad to get stuff done.

I discussed Full Disclosure and the WikiLeaks Afghanistan papers on National Public Radio.

Check out a video trailer for the course on Sparking Social Change that Mark Moore and I are teaching this fall.

I moderated a panel at the Brookings Institution on June 1 about strategies for strengthening American democracy. Check it out on CSPAN.

I'm helping to organize the Ash Center's Democracy Seminar series. If you're not in Cambridge, you can watch some of the seminars here.

Check out my latest book, Full Disclosure: The Perils and Promise of Transparency (Cambridge University Press). Comments on Full Disclosure:

"Packed with ideas and information, Full Disclosure is, by far, the best book to date on the problem of public transparency. The authors offer a host of indispensable lessons for citizens and policymakers in diverse domains, including education, pollution, national security, and health care. At the same time, Full Disclosure is an important contribution to democratic theory -- and a great read to boot."

Cass Sunstein, Karl N. Llewellyn Dist. Service Prof. of Jurisprudence
University of Chicago Law School