This essay interrogates “conversation,” “dialogue,” and the language of therapy as framing devices for various public deliberative processes in the 1990s and since. Although “conversation” and “dialogue” are often trumpeted as a means to restore civility, egalitarianism, and community into the public sphere, this essay argues that these communication modes, coupled with the language of therapy in which they frequently have been couched, are problematic as paradigms for conflict and problem resolution on public issues. The essay argues, first, that a conversational model for deliberation may impede rather than further democratic goals, and, second, that conversation may function.
Copyright © 2005 Michigan State University Press. This article first appeared in Rhetoric & Public Affairs 8:3 (2005), 403-430.
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Tonn, Mari Boor. "Taking Conversation, Dialogue, and Therapy Public." Rhetoric & Public Affairs 8, no. 3 (2005): 405-30. doi:10.1353/rap.2005.0072.