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John Gastil Portrait

Professor

Communication Arts & Sciences and Political Science Senior Scholar, the McCourtney Institute for Democracy
The Pennsylvania State University

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Research

Topic Map

Research Topic Map Civil society and protest groups Communication in small groups The Australian Citizens' Parliament Jury behavior The Democracy Machine (online platform) The Group in society Democracy in Small Groups Civic Engagment The Jury and Democracy Group Decision Making Governance Theory and Practice of deliberative democracy Political Communication and Deliberation Delib. Democracy Handbook Democracy in Motion By Popular Demand The Citizens' Initiative Review Public forums, civic education, political socialization Direct Democracy
Sortition as an alternative to elections Participedia.net Public opinion and civic attitudes Public Opinion and Atts. Elections Cultural Cognition Project Voter Behavior, election dynamics, and campaings

Voter Behavior, Election Dynamics, and Campaigns

Most of my campaign research has focused on ways of transforming the existing electoral process.

In By Popular Demand: Revitalizing Representative Democracy through Deliberative Elections I critique existing elections and introduce a political reform that enables the public to discern its underlying interests, record its voice, and link this voice to collective voting choices. 

Political communication and deliberation also looks directly at elections and shows the ways they fall short of a deliberative ideal.

Both of those books drew strands from my 1992 essay on the subject:  Undemocratic discourse: A review of theory and research on political discourse (Discourse & Society, 3, 469-500).

Democracy in motion: Evaluating the practice and impact of deliberative civic engagement extends this research, seeking to act as a comprehensive assessment of the practice and impact of deliberative civic engagement on democratic outcomes. More than a simple summary of existing research, this book also acts as a useful guide for practitioners, scholars, activists or public officials attempting to practically integrate deliberation into their communal practices.

I also drew on my experience working on New Mexico campaigns and assisting the University of New Mexico Institute for Public Policy when I co-authored with Hank Jenkins-Smith and Gilbert St. Clair the 2002 essay, Beyond green chiles and coyotes: The changing shape of New Mexico's political-cultural regions from 1967 to 1997 (New Mexico Historical Review77, 173-195).  

Recently, I examined the impact deliberation and discussion between voters had on their corresponding vote choices in vote-by-mail elections in the essays:

Also see:

Gastil, J. (2014). Beyond endorsements and partisan cues: Giving voters viable alternatives to unreliable cognitive shortcuts. The Good Society, 23, 145-159.

Warnick, B., Xenos, M., Endres, D., & Gastil, J. (2005). Effects of campaign-to-user and text-based interactivity in political candidate campaign websitesJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication10(3).

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