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Abstract

There is a large and troubling gap between the promise of deliberative innovations and the most prevalent practices of our largely dysfunctional democracy. A web of factors is widening this gap and increasing the urgency of addressing it. With democracy in crisis, the deliberative civic field is engaging in more collaborative efforts and in more pointed conversations about how to have a systemic impact. To have any chance of improving the state of democracy, our field needs to: 1) envision and work toward structural change; 2) find more compelling ways to describe empowered public participation and more welcoming entry points for experiencing it; and 3) address the challenge of equity head-on. As a field, we have begun to address the first two, though we have much more to do. Our field has been more reticent to address the challenge of equity.

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