Andrea Felicetti of Australian National University, Professor Dr. John Gastil of the Penn State University Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, and colleagues, have published Collective Identity and Voice at the Australian Citizens’ Parliament, Journal of Public Deliberation, 8(1), article 5 (2012). Here is the abstract:
This paper examines the role of collective identity and collective voice in political life. We argue that persons have an underlying predisposition to use collective dimensions, such as common identities and a public voice, in thinking and expressing themselves politically. This collective orientation, however, can be either fostered or weakened by citizens’ political experiences. Although the collective level is an important dimension in contemporary politics, conventional democratic practices do not foster it. Deliberative democracy is suggested as an environment that might allow more ground for citizens to express themselves not only in individual but also in collective terms. We examine this theoretical perspective through a case study of the Australian Citizens’ Parliament [ACP], in which transcripts are analyzed to determine the extent to which collective identities and common voice surfaced in actual discourse. We analyze the dynamics involved in the advent of collective dimensions in the deliberative process and highlight the factors—deliberation, nature of the discussion, and exceptional opportunity—that potentially facilitated the rise of group identities and common voice. In spite of the strong individualistic character of the Australian cultural identity, we nonetheless found evidence of both collective identity and voice at the Citizens’ Parliament, expressed in terms of national, state, and community levels. In the conclusion, we discuss the implications of those findings for future research and practice of public deliberation.
The paper also discusses these issues in the context of ACP participants’ deliberation about a number of Australian laws.
Tags: ACP, Andrea Felicetti, Australian Citizens' Parliament, Citizens' participation in policy making, Collective identity and legal communication, Deliberative democracy, Democratic deliberation, John Gastil, Journal of Public Deliberation, Legal communication, Legal deliberation, Voice and legal communication