The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law May 2010
ADR @ Moritz

The 2010 Schwartz Lecture: Is Deliberative Polling the Wave of the Future in Public Discourse?

Professor James Fishkin of Stanford University delivered a compelling Schwartz Lecture on April 15th, 2010. In his talk, Fishkin described and advocated for a new model of public discourse. Through Deliberative Polling, Fishkin and his colleagues argue, the citizenry is more inclined to think about issues in a more sophisticated way and reach more reasoned conclusions than in traditional polling.

The Deliberative Polling model works, Fishkin argues, because the participants, who come from all areas of the political and socioeconomic spectrum, are given truly “fair and balanced” sets of facts with which to work prior to answering questions about a particular set of issues. These facts are prepared collaboratively by the various stakeholders to a dispute or an issue.

Professor Fishkin provided evidence from cases he has handled in Northern Ireland and elsewhere.

The lecture was received enthusiastically by the Moritz community.

Professor Amy Cohen noted, “Professor Fishkin made exciting and compelling connections between deliberative democracy and the theory and practice of ADR. His forthcoming article in the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution should be of great interest to the ADR community.”

Professor Peter Shane commented, “What has always excited me about Jim Fishkin's work is that he attempts to turn a genuinely sophisticated understanding of democratic theory into entirely practical initiatives for building democratic practice on the ground. He may be the preeminent philosopher-practitioner of our time.”

After the lecture, Professor Fishkin held a book signing for his book When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy & Public Consultation.

For more information about Professor Fishkin, and to listen to the lecture, click here.

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Erin Archerd
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The Caucus, the newsletter published by the Moritz Program on Dispute Resolution, is designed to share ADR news with the Moritz community and beyond, as well as provide Moritz students with information regarding externship and employment opportunities. Questions regarding this publication should be directed to Erin Archerd, Langdon Fellow in Dispute Resolution.