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12 Disp. Resol. Mag. 18 (2005-2006)
Deliberative Democracy and Conflict Resolution

handle is hein.journals/disput12 and id is 58 raw text is: DELIBERATIVE          DEMOCRACY           AND

two different movements have
been working in parallel toward
the same goal-theorizing about and
attempting to structure processes for
increased participation in decision-
making by the parties most affected by
those decisions. As dialogue between
the two fields increases, it is useful to
consider what we can learn from each
other: our commonalities, our differ-
ences, and what questions we might
want to explore together.
On one hand, the deliberative-
democracy movement has emerged
within the   political science field,
and has considered how to enhance
reasoned argument and deliberation
among members of the polity, princi-
pally in political decision-making.1 Its
practical embodiments include delib-
erative polling, citizen town meetings,
national-issues fora, citizen juries and
the like.'
On the other hand, the conflict-
resolution movement has developed
as an eclectic applied social science of
both theory and practice, drawing from
planning, law, sociology, psychology,
communications and decision sciences
to develop models of decision-making,
dialogue and dispute settlement.' Its
process embodiments include the pri-
mary ADR processes of negotiation,
mediation, arbitration and adjudica-
tion, of course, along with all the many
hybrid forms we have developed in
the last few decades-med-arb sum-
mary jury trials, mini-trials, consensus-
Carrie Menkel-
Meadow is A.B. Chettle,
Jr. professor of dispute
resolution and civil
procedure at Georgetown
University Law Center and
a co-ordinating committee
member at the June 2005
Conference on Deliberative Democracy and
Dispute Resolution, MIT-PON Public Policy
Disputes Program. She can be reached at
meadow@law.georgetown. edu.

building fora, facilitated collaborative
decision-making,  negotiated  rule-
making, study circles, public conversa-
tions and restorative justice, to name
just a few of the newer combinations.
Shared ideology
Though developing within dif-
ferent spheres, the two movements
actually share  similar intellectual
roots. In both deliberative democ-
racy and conflict resolution, one can
see John Dewey's brand of Ameri-
can  democratic philosophical and
political pragmatism.4 One can also
see evidence of the social philosophy
that ideal speech conditions should
enable individuals to participate in
and discuss rules and decisions that
affect their lives, an idea that comes
from Jurgen Habermas.5  And, most
recently, Stuart Hampshire's social
and moral philosophy has taught us
that if we cannot always agree on the
substantive good, we must agree on
how to develop processes for living
and working together.6
Both deliberative democrats and
dispute-resolution professionals also
usually assert (we still don't have ideal
empirical verifications of these claims)
that participatory processes will pro-
duce better outcomes, in the sense
that the outcomes are joint, mutual
and Pareto-optimal. People in both
fields also believe that participatory
processes create processes with greater
legitimacy and satisfaction.
Indeed, for many in both move-
ments, conflict, also called political
dissensus, is a good thing. In the
words of one of our foremothers, Mary
Parker Follett, we use friction to
make things happen constructively.7
Both groups believe that decid-
ing issues on the basis of interests
or needs rather than positions, and
deciding them through honest and
open discussion, argument, bargaining
and brainstorming, will produce better

and more inclusive outcomes. Thus,
we have both spent the last few de-
cades attempting to build and evalu-
ate models, processes and institutions
that can best facilitate various formats
of increased participation in dialogues,
mutual understanding and decision-
Global use of new processes
This issue highlights some of
these new processes, which have been
used to resolve a wide variety of dis-
putes around the world. Here in the
United States, processes developed
in the deliberative-democracy and
conflict-resolution movements have
been used in environmental siting,
budget allocation, and community and
inter-ethnic disputes. They have also
been applied in addressing divisive
political issues such as affirmative ac-
tion and abortion, and used in local
governmental decision-making about
such issues as community policing and
Internationally, these processes
have been incorporated in post-con-
flict reconciliation fora such as the
Truth and Reconciliation Commis-
sions in South Africa and Guatemala.
In Rwanda, indigenous-dispute-reso-
lution processes are even being com-
bined with Truth and Reconciliation
concepts and criminal prosecutions to
restructure the traditional community
and public gacaca process.8
Along the way, people in both
fields have considered similar ques-
tions: how  to engage participants
most inclusively, what process rules or
procedures should be used to ensure
adequacy of participation and mutual
hearing, what decision rules should be
employed (e.g., majority votes, con-
sensus or near unanimity), and what
kinds of representation are appropri-
ate. They have also wondered how
fact-finding and information gathering
should be conducted, what kinds of


18     WINTER 2006

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