By Sara Copic, DCI Assistant Director
Virtues and Vocations: Higher Education for Human Flourishing is a magazine of the Virtues and Vocations initiative at the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns. This year, the DCI was featured as part of the magazine’s Good Work series. To read the original article, click here: https://socialconcerns.nd.edu/virtues/newsletter-post/davidson-college-deliberative-citizenship-initiative/
The article does a nice job of summarizing the work of the DCI and its core mission programs.
The DCI was founded in 2020 with the goal of combating unproductive, polarized political and social discourse by replacing it with deliberative citizenship. Dr. Graham Bullock, Associate Professor of Political Science and Faculty Director of the DCI at Davidson College, was one of the founding co-conveners of the DCI. In the Virtues and Vocations article, Dr. Bullock elaborates on the notion of citizenship that is at the heart of the DCI:
“Citizenship has become equated with what passport you hold, a kind of national identity, but this is not the only way to think about citizenship. We’ve tried to think about a broader sense of citizenship as the work that we do together to engage the problems we face in society.”
And he elaborates on what deliberation is:
“Deliberation is sort of an antidote to the very harsh, toxic public discourse that we experience in the mainstream and social media contexts – talking past each other, not really engaging with one another’s reasons, sometimes not even providing reasons for why we hold the positions we do. We see deliberation as a form of discourse that is in good faith, trying to understand one another and then come up with new ideas that might often transcend where we started from.”
The article goes on to explain the history of the DCI and its early events, which started at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than allowing COVID to block their progress, its leadership saw the pandemic as an opportunity to host virtual events that could draw not only a local and regional but also a national audience to the DCI. As a result, we have been able to host many kinds of deliberative discussions, both online and in-person.
The DCI’s programming includes small-scale discussions between members of deliberative groups, or D Teams, and larger scale events like our speaker series and public forums. All of our deliberations are facilitated by the DCI Fellows, who are Davidson students trained in best practices for leading productive and meaningful deliberations between people from all walks of life and from many ideological backgrounds.
As we look ahead to the coming academic year, we hope to see you at our speaker series and public forums, to meet you in one of our D Teams or during one of our deliberation facilitator training workshops. Become a member below to keep up with our activity, and follow us on your favorite social media site.