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Citizen Participation in Decision Making
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Master Class
  Download the brochure (PDF 907k) for the 2013 Master Class in dialogue, deliberation and public engagement.  
Ockham's Razor: Deliberative Democracy
  Play (13 min) or download (6.5 mb) mp3 audio of my talk on ABC Radio National programme Ockham's Razor.  
Why DD Matters
  Play (10 min) or download (12 mb) mp3 audio that summarises Why Deliberative Democracy Matters.
From recent researcher/ practitioner workshop.
Australian Policy Online
  Read my article, Growing up politically: conducting a national conversation on climate change  

Hi, I’m Lyn Carson, welcome to my website. I hope to provide easy access to information which individuals, groups or organisations can use to enhance citizens’ involvement in the activities of local, state or federal government.

I’m currently a professor with the Business Programs Unit at the University of Sydney, Australia. I’m researching in the fascinating area of community engagement and deliberative democracy. I’m teaching ‘critical thinking’ which will have resonance for those familiar with public deliberation.

Democracy, for me, is active, interactive, deliberative and genuinely representative of the wider population. It’s as valid to speak of a democratic personality (Gould, 1988) as it is to speak of a democratic workplace or a democratic society. We can enact in microcosm what we imagine for the level of nation state. We need not restrict our thinking to systems of government—we can do democracy at any time, any place.

Like C. Douglas Lummis, I see democracy as the antithesis of centralised power:

…democracy is one of those beautiful, absolute clear principles… that poses a maddening, tantalizing puzzle to humankind and launches us on the historic project of seeking to realize it in our collective life (Lummis, 1982).

I note the words of Frances Moore Lappé (2006): “To save the democracy we thought we had, we must take it to where it’s never been.” One way of saving democracy—or causing a democratic breakout (Blaug, 1999)—is to involve citizens in political decision making.

I’ve written numerous articles on public participation in decision making—from setting up citizens’ juries to improving community consultation in your local council. Go to Publications if you’d like to download some of my written works. Your feedback is warmly encouraged after you have roamed around this site.


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www.activedemocracy.net is published by Lyn Carson under a Creative Commons License
Phone: 02 9351 4728 (Int +61) Email: lyn.carson@sydney.edu.au