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Deliberation and Development: Rethinking the Role of Voice and Collective Action in Unequal Societies

December 06, 2016 by Patrick Heller, Vijayendra Rao

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Deliberation is the process by which a group of people, each with equal voice, can - via a process of discussion and debate - reach an agreement. This book attempts to do two things. First, it rethinks the role of deliberation in development and shows that it has potential well beyond a narrow focus on participatory projects. Deliberation, if properly instituted, has the potential to have a transformative effect on many if not all aspects of development, and especially in addressing problems of collective action, coordination, and entrenched inequality. This has broad implications both at the global and local level. Second, the book demonstrates that taking deliberation seriously calls for a different approach to both research and policy design and requires a much greater emphasis on the processes by which decisions are made, rather than an exclusive focus on the outcomes. Deliberation and Development contributes to a broader literature to understand the role of communicative processes in development.