Public Dialogue and Deliberation

A message from Rebecca Townsend, on behalf of a group of scholars named below:

“We welcome members of the National Communication Association (NCA) to consider supporting the creation of a Public Dialogue and Deliberation Division. Should you support , please attach your name to this petition. A full rationale for this proposed division is available, but a brief version follows.

The discipline of communication is poised to become more than a de facto leader in scholarship on dialogue and deliberation. Creating the NCA Public Dialogue and Deliberation division would significantly advance that effort and not only bring together communication scholars but also attract others toward our discipline. We identify three principal reasons for forming the division.

(1) Many dialogue and deliberation scholars who belong to NCA produce innovative work that spans the different sub-fields within our discipline but doesn’t fit well in any single division. A new division would welcome all such scholarship and better feature the best scholarship on dialogue and deliberation in the conference program, jointly sponsoring panels with other divisions as appropriate.

(2) The lack of a division substantially reduces the opportunity for cross-pollination and collaboration among the diverse scholars who study dialogue and deliberation. Within this new division, those with a more pedagogical focus and those engaged in community interventions, in particular, may find more opportunities to meet and interact with those doing humanistic and social scientific research.

(3) Many of those who study dialogue and deliberation seek a qualitatively different style of conference session. The conventional presentation of papers, with a respondent and brief Q&A, rarely permits dialogic exchange or deliberative analysis, but the new division would offer the freedom to explore alternative ways of meeting together.

Thank you for your consideration and possible support!”

Rebecca M. Townsend, Manchester Community College, on behalf of proposal drafting committee, including:

Laura Black, Ohio University
Martín Carcasson, Colorado State University
John Gastil, Penn State University
William Keith, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Windy Lawrence, University of Houston
Leah Sprain, University of Colorado Boulder
Tim Steffensmeier, Kansas State University

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