Deliberative Democracy Meets Dispute Resolution Reflections and Insights from the 2005 Workshop on Deliberative Democracy and Dispute Resolution, Cambridge, Massachusetts


Carri Hulet (producer), under the supervision of Lawrence Susskind

Highlights of dialogue from a two-day workshop on deliberative democracy and dispute resolution approaches to civic engagement


The Workshop on Deliberative Democracy and Dispute Resolution, sponsored by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, was a two-day conference held on June 24 – 25, 2005 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The event brought together 30 individuals who share a common interest in civic engagement, but represent two distinct fields that approach the project very differently. One group included public dispute resolution professionals; the other, political theorists and innovative practitioners of deliberative democracy. The differences between the fields were revealed as participants engaged in four panel discussions regarding hypothetical scenarios depicting difficult moments in democratic practice. Participants shared their opinion on how to approach the problems in the scenario, and discussion ensued.

This video attempts to capture the most interesting moments of dialogue from the workshop in order to illustrate the overlaps and divisions of opinion both between and within the respective fields.


DVD Scenes:

Introduction [14:17]


Scenario 1: Municipal Decision-Making

  • Exchange 1: Supplementing representative democracy [9:07]
  • Exchange 2: Consensus, common interest, stakeholders vs. the public [10:34]
  • Exchange 3: The role of the media in deliberative processes [2:56]
  • Exchange 4: Visioning [5:22]
  • Exchange 5: Participant control over process design [1:46]


Scenario 2: Metropolitan Policy-Making

  • Exchange 1: Process questions: role of the mediator, ideal processes, including underrepresented groups [22:09]
  • Exchange 2: Rights and Rights-based politics [4:48]
  • Exchange 3: Deliberation for the sake of learning rather than policymaking [5:07]


Scenario 3: National-level Consensus Building [3:11]

  • Exchange 1: Who should be involved? [9:05]
  • Exchange 2: Scientific or technical knowledge in deliberative processes [7:24]
  • Exchange 3: EIA and minimum requirements for deliberative democracy [11:51]
  • Exchange 4: Dispute Resolution biases [3:16]


Scenario 4: Implementation of Informally Negotiated Agreements [2:20]

  • Exchange 1: Legitimacy in the process [9:38]
  • Exchange 2: Dispute resolution processes should be long and recursive [9:22]
  • Exchange 3: How can I apply deliberative democracy to dispute resolution [5:41]


Closing Comments [4:56]

Deliberative Democracy Meets Dispute Resolution Attributes

Time Required: Unspecified
Teaching Notes Available: No
Run Time: 2 hours, 31 minutes
Produced By: Carri Hulet
Publisher: Program on Negotiation (2006)