The first article, “Making policy information relevant to citizens: a model of deliberative mini-publics, applied to the Citizens’ Initiative Review” was published in the July 2018 edition of Policy & Politics.
“This article is part of a larger research project that explores how ordinary citizens use information to make sense of political issues in the context of deliberating with family members, friends, and neighbors,” Richards said.
Richards’ article looks at how research on deliberative mini-publics has neglected two topics: the information on which deliberation is based, and communication techniques by which mini-publics convey their findings to the public. The article sheds light on those two topics, by showing that a criterion for evaluating information – intersubjective relevance – structures information within mini-publics and information that mini-publics share with the wider public.
The article explains how information satisfying that criterion can foster intersubjectivity, deliberation and desirable outcomes of deliberation and proposes a theoretical model to explain those associations, presenting evidence from the Citizens’ Initiative Review to lend support for the model.
Policy & Politics publishes articles on public policy, political science, political history, political sociology, public administration, and international relations.
His second article, “Deliberative Mini-publics as a Partial Antidote to Authoritarian Information Strategies,” will be published in the forthcoming fall edition of Journal of Public Deliberation.
The article looks at how authoritarian and proto-authoritarian regimes control a growing number of states throughout the world. Among the information strategies that these regimes use to gain and maintain support are the dissemination of false or misleading policy information and the use of manipulative policy frames. The article shows how deliberative mini-publics can partially counter those strategies by distributing accurate policy information and employing non-exploitative policy frames that affirm the dignity of members of the polity as free and equal citizens.
Journal of Public Deliberation is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal with the principal objective of synthesizing the research, opinion, projects, experiments, and experiences of academics and practitioners in the multi-disciplinary field of deliberative democracy.
Richards, who joined the Clinton School in July 2018, teaches Communication Processes and Social (Ex)Change. He earned his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University in 2016 and his juris doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2006.