The project aims to understand why some promises of a ‘national conversation’ on a policy issue seem to be mere hyperbole, while others seem more authentic. Using a combination of deliberative systems theory, the aims and understandings of key actors in each case, and the online and qualitative methods that André Bächtiger and I are developing, the project will compare three cases that claimed to spark a national conversation: the Scottish National Conversation 2007–14; debates around the Affordable Care Act in the United States, 2009; and the ongoing issue of Indigenous constitutional recognition in Australia. It will then attempt to draw lessons for implementing good practice in Australia and elsewhere.
Plans will be refined over the coming months, with an official start date in January 2016. I will be creating a project blog and twitter feed, and will post when they are up and running.
Plus, there will be a Research Assistant position available, to work with me over 12-18 months of the project. I will be advertising that position in the new year, so if you are, or if you know of, an early-career researcher who might be interested, follow me on twitter and keep an eye out for updates. Australian citizens or residents will get first bite, but there may be opportunities for others too. I’ll keep you posted.
Thanks to my colleagues at Griffith for all the work they put in to help get the project to this point, as well as to the ARC. Thanks too to my former colleagues at Warwick and friends at the Academy of Government, University of Edinburgh, who helped me persist and polish this – I will be calling on some of you soon!