Abstract

This essay interrogates "conversation," "dialogue," and the language of therapy as framing devices for various public deliberative processes in the 1990s and since. Although "conversation" and "dialogue" are often trumpeted as a means to restore civility, egalitarianism, and community into the public sphere, this essay argues that these communication modes, coupled with the language of therapy in which they frequently have been couched, are problematic as paradigms for conflict and problem resolution on public issues. The essay argues, first, that a conversational model for deliberation may impede rather than further democratic goals, and, second, that conversation may function as a therapeutic substitute for policy formation necessary to remedy social ills.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5238
Print ISSN
1094-8392
Pages
pp. 405-430
Launched on MUSE
2005-11-07
Open Access
No
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