This article examines how Deliberative Civic Engagement (DCE) is used as a public engagement process to invite disjointed cultural communities into a shared space to engage in democratically inspired dialogue. Dialogue is sought in DCE events because it encourages reflexivity and allows for collaborative ideation processes. Collaboration among differing groups demands that DCE events are open enough to be influenced by the immediate concerns of the participants involved. In addition, openness and vulnerability are required to support deep level thinking and connection between heterogeneous identities represented.

Kevin L.D. Leaven is a recent graduate of the James Madison University’s graduate program in Communication and Advocacy.

Author's note

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, social distancing is being encouraged to minimize the spread of the coronavirus. Consequently, many conversations between colleagues, friends, and family have moved online using platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts. Digital technologies have enabled people to overcome some of the obstacles posed by this unprecedented viral event. However, merely having the technology to talk to our peers does not automatically make conversations easier. Nor does COVID-19 erase the social barriers that previously complicated our relationships. However, I believe that people are resilient and that there are ample tools available to spark meaningful discussions amongst our associates. Thus, this article serves as a primer for deliberative civic engagement, which provides one approach to facilitating constructive, informed, and decisive dialogue with others. I argue that cultivating constructive dialogue is a skill with multiple avenues for improvement. So I hope that this article will provide helpful ideas to strengthen your communication skills while encouraging you to engage in fruitful dialogue with others in your life.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.