Our British system of democracy has been based often on the process of debate. Debate is the form of discussion where a group divides into two or more sides that argue trying to win their perspective. Debate focuses on points of difference and is thus destructive to group cohesion and often ignores potential solutions that would work for everyone.
Debate although fun and a useful tool for learning to speak and make arguments is not necessarily the best way to reach agreements in complex and diverse societies like our own. The British system of debate may well be outmoded
Dialogue is discussion where the goal is to understand issues and each others' perspectives, not to convince others of your view or to find a solution. Dialogue is a helpful process to increase trust and understanding before engaging further
Can you have a democracy that is based on dialogue rather than debate and how would this work in practice when the are so many conflicting interests?
Perry Walker will present this webinar. Perry is an innovator of participatory methods that anyone can use. Over the last ten years he has led the development of Democs, a conversation game, which provides a unique opportunity for small groups to find out about complex policy issues like climate change or nanotechnology, to shape and share their opinions, and to provide feedback for policymakers. Democs has been used by tens of thousands of people all over Europe.
Until 2011, he was head of the Democracy and Participation programme at nef (the new economics foundation). He now works mainly on developing two other approaches: www.openupuk.org and http://www.openupuk.org, a site that helps people grapple with complex ethical and political issues using 'argument maps'; and Crowd Wise, a method for consensus decision-making.
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