Abstract

This article explores questions about “civility” in the 2012 election. Through an analysis of media discussions raising the term, four themes are constructed focusing on the limitations of civility discourse. While seeking to preserve the best that civil orientations afford, I argue that adding a deliberative approach to such discourse addresses moments when civil appeals appear to be most limited. This essay finds that working between civil and deliberative constructs provides an instructive perspective for understanding the workings of and possibilities for public discourse during situations when civility rhetoric is typically raised. Relative to civil communication—and associated concepts such as dialogue and advocacy—specific norms, benefits, examples, and implications of a deliberative rhetorical vision are charted for problem-solving, public policy contexts.

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