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Francesca Polletta, Freedom Is an Endless Meeting, pp. 1-54 (Chap. 1-2).docx

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Sociology (Arts)
SOCI 386
Marcos Ancelovici

Freedom is An Endless Meeting- Chapter 1 (Poletta) Benefits of participatory democracy in SMOs - Gives people a stake in the success of the group (solidary incentives) - Produces diverse, innovative ideas (developmental incentives) Drawbacks - Less efficient and organized - Groups who use these tactics rarely last very long - There is no clear cut definition of what democracy and equality are, leading to internal struggles Social relationships have shaped participatory democracy in 2 ways: 1) Familiar relationships have provided normative frameworks for deliberation - Provides disincentives for manipulation and tells how to raise issues, frame disagreement and formulate dissent - Treats difference as a source of learning rather than obstacles to the group’s goals - Makes it difficult to expand SM due to friendship’s tendency towards exclusivity 2) Assessment of deliberative forms have been based in part on the social groups with which they have been identified - Groups define themselves in relation to their higher profile counterparts (whether in agreement or opposition) - “prefigurative” groups: groups whose internal structure has minimal division of labour, decentralized authority and an egalitarian ethos with consensus oriented decision- making - Commitment to democracy is greater or equal to their commitment to realizing the group’s aims - This form of operating is often seen as having no strategic elements when this is not so Emphasis on deliberative talk- providing reasons and defending why you support an option over another rather than just taking a vote- makes everyone’s reasoning understandable, rational, and consider each idea Can gain strategizing skills this way Generate new bases of legitimate authority continually- not all decisions are made in consensus- must see whether the grounds for authority are specified, and, when appropriate, reformulated How democratic decision-making can help groups realize their aims: - When people share ownership of decisions, their sense of solidarity and community is heightened - Process of decision-making makes for greater acceptance of the differences that coexist with shared purposes - Allows people who are not conventionally credentialed to participate and thus brings new tactics into paly - More accountable and transparent decision-making makes the group seem more worthy Problems: - Discussion is useful in problem solving and agenda setting, but not when solutions
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