New essay on prospects for reaching across cultural divides
Another CIR-related publication has been accepted for publication, this one forthcoming in the journal Public Administration. “Deliberation across cultural cognitive divides” looks at both the 2010 Oregon CIR and issue booklets produced by the National Issues Forums. The central question is, can deliberative processes be framed and conducted in a way that encourages cross-cultural dialogue? Short answer: yes. Long answer: still yes, but not always. Here’s the article’s abstract:
Deliberative theorists posit that highly structured face-to-face policy discussions can transcend ideological differences. By contrast, cultural cognitive theorists argue that people’s cultural orientations constrain policy-relevant information processing and forestall the public’s ability to reach consensus. Two studies examine whether deliberative processes can span divergent cultural orientations. The first assesses a prominent deliberative forum program’s capacity to frame policy solutions across the quadrants of a two-dimensional cultural grid. The second study examines whether deliberation generates policy recommendations that transcend biases to yield cross-cultural agreement. Results show that public deliberation can encompass multiple cultural orientations and encourage participants to look beyond their biases to discover common ground. When it comes to framing and implementing deliberative public forums, cultural orientations appear to be surmountable obstacles.
The full citation for the article is:
- Gastil, J., Knobloch, K., Kahan, D., & Braman, D. (In press). Deliberation across cultural cognitive divides: two tests of cultural biasing in public forum design and deliberation. Public Administration.
To see all the reports and publications to-date on the CIR, visit our publications page: http://sites.psu.edu/citizensinitiativereview/publications/