Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance Seminar

Beyond Expression: Realising Public Deliberation in an Era of Communicative Plenty

Tue 1 December 2015Speaker: Dr Selen Ercan, University of CanberraVenue: Fishbowl, Building 24, University of Canberra


The paper develops the idea of ‘communicative plenty’ to describe the ever increasing proliferation of site of political communication (both online and offline) that emerge around controversial policy issues. We consider the implications of communicative plenty for realizing democracy understood in deliberative terms, as a reflective and non-coercive communication process. We identify various promises and pitfalls of communicative plenty, and discuss the conditions under which it might contribute not only to broadening, but also deepening of public conversations. To this end, we propose moving beyond expression and voice to focus on often ignored aspects of public communication, including reflection and listening. We argue that if accompanied by sufficient moments of reflection and listening, communicative plenty can offer a viable context for the realization of public deliberation at a systems level. We discuss the implications of this proposal for institutional design.


Dr Selen Ercan is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra. Her bio and current research projects can be viewed here

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