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Program on Alternative Dispute Resolution

2009-10 Schwartz Lecture on Dispute Resolution

Making Deliberative Democracy Practical: Public Consultation and Dispute Resolution

James FishkinApril 15, 2010 | Noon | Saxbe Auditorium

James Fishkin
Stanford University

Archived Webcast: Real Player | Windows Media Player

The 2010 Annual Schwartz Lecture on Dispute Resolution featured Professor James Fishkin of Stanford University. Best known for developing the practice of Deliberative Polling®, which uses random samples of the citizenry to explore how opinions would change if they were more informed, Professor Fishkin is the Janet M. Peck Chair in International Communication and Professor of Communication and Professor of Political Science. He is also Director of Stanford’s Center for Deliberative Democracy and Chair of the Department of Communication.

Professor Fishkin presented a compelling lecture in which he first distinguished deliberative democracy from other forms of democracy:  competitive, representative, participatory, and elite, or Madisonian.  Next he described the Deliberative Polling process, in which a random sampling of people are given information agreed to by the stakeholders in a given issue or dispute, allowed to question the stakeholders thoroughly, and only then asked to answer questions.  He then gave numerous examples from his work around the world, which has involved him in projects in China, Greece, and in various states from Texas to Michigan, to name just a few.  Throughout his talk, he presented anecdotes both humorous and alarming about how an uninformed public can be negatively affected by the influence of leaders and the media, and how the deliberative polling process works to change that paradigm, creating a more informed and reflective citizenry.  After speaking and taking questions himself, Professor Fishkin signed copies of his book, When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy and Public Consultation.

Moritz Professor Peter Shane, who has worked with Professor Fishkin, calls him “one of the world’s most distinguished researchers working at the intersection of political science, communication, and political philosophy.” Professor Shane continues, “He has few peers in integrating sophisticated social science research with practical models for deepening the democratic experience of everyday citizens. The potential implications of his work for both conflict resolution and the practice of representative democracy are profound.”
Admission is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided to the first 100 attendees. Parking is available in the Ohio Union Garage on High Street or the Gateway Garage between 9th and 11th avenues.

The Schwartz Lecture on Dispute Resolution was established in 1992 as a result of the generosity of the late Stanley Schwartz Jr. (a 1947 Moritz College of Law graduate) and the Schwartz family. Each lecture is published in the interdisciplinary Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, in keeping with Mr. Schwartz’s interest in the promotion of scholarly publication in the area of dispute resolution.