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Author Biography

The New England town meeting has often been seen as the archetypical deliberative citizen forum (see, e.g., Mansbridge 1980). More recently, political theorists have begun to appreciate the way in which any particular public forum might be better understood as part of the larger deliberative system (Parkinson, Mansbridge, 2012). Much of this work draws on modern-day examples (Parkinson 2006). But a return to the American founding era reveals that while town meetings are often praised and have many democratic virtues, they also embody a limitation on popular action generally and especially on democratic dissent.

Abstract

The New England town meeting has often been seen as the archetypical deliberative citizen forum (see, e.g., Mansbridge 1980). More recently, political theorists have begun to appreciate the way in which any particular public forum might be better understood as part of the larger deliberative system (Parkinson, Mansbridge, 2012). Much of this work draws on modern-day examples (Parkinson 2006). But a return to the American founding era reveals that while town meetings are often praised and have many democratic virtues, they also embody a limitation on popular action generally and especially on democratic dissent.

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