An exploration of the collaborative policy making process as a trust enhancing exercise

Material Information

An exploration of the collaborative policy making process as a trust enhancing exercise
Longobardi, Ralph C
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
vii, 347 leaves : ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Political participation ( lcsh )
Policy sciences ( lcsh )
Trust ( lcsh )
Policy sciences ( fast )
Political participation ( fast )
Trust ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 325-347).
General Note:
School of Public Affairs
Statement of Responsibility:
by Ralph C. Longobardi.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
228298281 ( OCLC )
LD1193.P86 2007d L66 ( lcc )

Full Text
Ralph C. Longobardi
B.S., S.U.C. of N.Y at Buffalo, 1981
M.P.A., Arizona State University, 1990
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Public Administration

This Thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Ralph C. Longobardi
has been approved
Peter deLeon

.ongobardi, Ralph C. (Ph.D., Public Administration)
. Exploration of the Collaborative Policy Making Process as a Trust Enhancing
' Txercise
' Thesis Directed by Professor Peter deLeon, Ph.D.
Collaborative policy making has been speculated as a method for increasing
i :ommunity involvement and creating social capital. It has also been discussed as a
nethod for instilling community and social values in the public policy making process.
This thesis examines whether participants in various participatory policy making
processes for cleaning up environmental hazards have greater trust in both the process,
he government, and in their fellow participants as a result of having access and
participatory input in to the decisions that affect their communities, their environments
ind their economic situations. Four participatory forums dealing with watershed hazard
emediations were both surveyed and interviewed in an attempt to discover participants
'eelings of trust and legitimacy as they related to the group, the process and to
government agencies and actors. A baseline survey was conducted at the outset of two
groups and then again, six months later to try to measure differences in attitudes.
Additionally, 10 participants with substantial participatory experience in two other, more
:stablished groups, were interviewed as to their experiences and attitudes. These two
nore established groups had the added independent variable of being unanimously
udged either successful or unsuccessful by the participants interviewed. While the t-
ests employed to indicate any within group or between group interactions of the
iurveyed subjects found no real significant changes in overall perceptions of trust at the
various levels examined, the interviews of the more established groups suggested some
possible problems and strengths of these processes and provide areas and subjects for
uture research.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend its
Peter deLeon

would like to thank my family and friends for their moral support and encouragement
hroughout my graduate school experience and throughout the writing of this thesis. I
i leeply appreciate the fact that they didnt roll their eyes (at least in front of me) every
ime I said I had to work on my dissertation. I would also like to express appreciation for
he unstinting time and effort expended by my thesis committee chairman, Peter deLeon.
Awhile he may be loathe to take any blame for this document, it is fair to say that I
wouldnt have done it without him. Every student should have a professor like Peter,
furthermore, I would like to thank Gary Broetzman and Terry McFarlane, both of whose
issistance and willingness to help me and inform this research were invaluable. Terrys
echnical assistance with the statistical analysis was tremendous. She will make a fine
irofessor. Garys experience with both environmental scienceand participatory forums
vas critical to the formation and completion of this project. He was an enthusiastic and
generous contribitor to this project. Thank you Gary. I would further like to acknowledge
ny committee for shaping this research and teaching me valuable research lessons,
specifically, Doug Kenney and Toddi Steelman whose experience in the field was
ntegral and whose patience with my writing was encouraging. Finally, I would like to
express my gratitude to the research participants that gave so willingly and
mthusiastically of their time, not only in the capacity of being civically oriented citizens
jut also as concerned and informative research subjects hoping to improve the state of
jarticipatory policy making.

1. INTRODUCTION..............................................1
Background and Problem Statement...........................5
Purpose and Scope........................................ 13
2. LITERATURE REVIEW AND FRAMEWORK..........................18
Introduction To Literature Review.........................18
Democratic Theory and History.............................18
Public Administration Theory..............................34
Critical and Post-Empirical Theories of Political Communication and
Democratic Participation..................................52
Social Capital and Trust..................................62
COMMUNITARIANISM......................................... 70
Critiques of Participation in Public Policy Making........77
Literature Review Conclusion..............................98
GROUP DESCRIPTIONS..................................... 102
CERCLA Superfund Act.....................................104
NEPA and the Clean Air Act (CAA).........................112
The Clean Water Act (CWA)................................114
The Endangered Species Act (ESA).........................115
Test Cases for this Research.............................118
Survey Groups............................................121
Red River, New Mexico..................................121
Gunnison River, Colorado...............................125
Interviewed Groups.......................................128
Cache Creek, California................................128
The Coquille River, Oregon.............................132
4. METHODOLOGY.............................................138
Overview and Hypotheses..................................138
Methodological Procedure for Survey Data Collection......144
Quantitative Data Collection.............................151

Survey Data Analysis..........................................155
Qualitative Design............................................158
TRI ANGULATION............................................... 161
Participant Interviews........................................164
Interview Protocol................................................165
5. DATA ANALYSIS...............................................167
Survey Data Analysis Method.................................. 167
The Survey........................................................167
The Respondent Sample................................. ,...169
ANOVA Test of Baseline Population...........................180
Assumption Of Independence..................................183
Assumption Of Homogeneity................................. 184
Assumption Of Normality................................. ...185
Repeated Measures ANOVA.....................................188
Creation of the Interview Protocol............................193
Qualitative Interviews........................................195
Cache Creek Watershed Stakeholders Group Interviews.........210
Summary of Cache Creek Watershed Stakeholders Group Interviews... 211
Coquille River Watershed Association Interviews............ 218
Summary of Coquille River Watershed Association Group Interview.219
6. CONCLUSION..................................................225
Trust in Government...........................................227
Trust Between Group Members and Viability of Participatory Group
Worth of Participation as Demonstrated by Participant Willingness
to Become Re-Involved....................................... 237
Concluding Remarks.......................................... 245
APPENDIX A -CODEBOOK AND QUESTIONNAIRE ........................254
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS.......................................... 273
Interview Preamble..................................... 273
Interview Questions........................................ 274

THEIR ENTIRETY..........................................276
Cache Creek Watershed Stakeholders Group Interviews........276
Summary of Interview with Respondent A....................276
Summary of Interview with Respondent B....................280
Summary of Interview with Respondent C....................285
Summary of Interview with Respondent D....................288
Summary of Interview with Respondent E....................292
Coquille Rjver Watershed Association Interviews.............299
Summary of Interview with Respondent 1....................299
Summary of Interview with Respondent 2....................304
Summary of Interview with Respondent 3....................309
Summary of Interview with Respondent 4....................314
Summary of Interview with Respondent 5....................319
BIBLIOGRAPHY............................................... 325

The concept of public trust as a palliative for many social and political ills
owes its renaissance over the past decade to a number of community-oriented
social theorists, political scientists, economists, sociologists, philosophers and
policy scholars who have prescribed it as at least a partial cure for the cynicism
and the anomie which they contend plague the modem American polity.
Theorizing about trust and public participation has recently returned to the
forefront of political science and public administration because there is only now
the willingness to re-examine this line of thought regardless of whether it can be
shown to matter empirically. Post-positivist theorists laboring in this arena have
concluded that the lack of tmst in both government and society portend calamity
for the functioning of American civil society and therefore endanger the future of
American democracy. This foreboding is based on the argument that participation
(and the tmst inherent there) is an essential component of successful democratic
functioning (Mansbridge, 1990; Putnam, 1993a; Putnam, 1993b; Putnam, 2000;
Kemmis, 1990; Barber, 1984; Tocqueville, 1945; Kaufman, 1969; deLeon, 1992;
Fredrickson, 1996). The idea that tmst is a positive social and political resource
has been generally ascribed to the socio-economic theory of social capital
(Coleman, 1990). Social capital, like physical and human capital, is a resource

essentially comprised of trust, norms and networks shared by individuals that
enable them to use the assets of the group in a manner that maximizes the ability
to pursue the goals of its members and thereby invests in the prestige and
influence of the group itself. Additionally, this logic of collective action warns, in
its allusion to the tragedy of the commons parable, that individual pursuit
indifferent to the group or community as a whole can result in unfavorable long-
term consequences for all concerned (Ophuls, 1992; Ostrom, 1990; Hardin, 1982;
A second source for the idea that participation and trust are necessary
socio-political resources for the optimal functioning of civil society is a more
intangible communitarian ideology that recommends citizenship, responsibility
and a political philosophy emphasizing the constructive and continuing balance of
the community good with personal gain (Etzioni, 1993; Bellah,1991).
Communitarianism consists of a reasoned doctrine that prescribes personal
enrichment through civic engagement. Communitarianism introduces a broader
spectrum of values beyond those considered by the economic actor and
therefore not what has historically been recognized as rational maximization or
personal utility. The benefits recommended by the communitarian philosophy
come from a sense of individual fulfillment and perhaps temporal endowment in
the knowledge of a responsible citizenship. The communitarian theorists reason
critically toward the concept of what an evolved society should resemble, and
from there deduce, the responsibilities of an evolved individual within that

community (Etzioni, 1993; Bellah, Madsen et al., 1985; Wilson, 1993). The
societal balance recommended by communitarian writers is somewhat ephemeral,
suggesting only that the type of community participants should strive for is built
upon a moral consensus that eschews any overly religious or authoritarian
underpinnings and depends on a vaguely defined mixture of community concern
and participation (Etzioni, 1988; Beem, 1996). It is a hybrid of both the rational
socio-economic and philosophical thinking on the subjects of community and
participation that combine to create the concept of social and political trust and its
supposed effect on civic and democratic functioning.
While the notion of social capital has been explored as an asset for the
success of civic and collective action in the form of participation (Tocqueville
1945; Putnam, 1993a), its political aspects have more recently emerged as a focus
of publicized discourse. Since Harold Lasswells (1951, 1971) call to incorporate
both knowledge and value into the policy making process, several scholars have
advocated citizen participation, at least on some level and in selected situations, as
a means to foster and legitimize democratic governance (Wilson 1993; Ingram
and Schneider, 1993; Jenkins-Smith, 1990;Dryzek, 1989, 1990; deLeon 1992,
1997; Fischer, 1993, 1999; Barber, 1984; Bachrach and Botwinick, 1992).
To the extent that a lack of public trust in political institutions implicitly
de-legitimizes government, the issue is of no slight consideration to scholars,
theorists and practitioners of public administration (King and Stivers, 1998;
Bellah, 1985). The absence of government legitimacy directly affects citizens

attitudes as they impact paying taxes and obeying laws and may act to validate the
growing number of anti-government groups and the blossoming of anti-
government attitudes (Nye, 1997).
Furthermore, the de-legitimization of government workers and agencies
acts as a discouraging influence, keeping bright, young people from choosing
government service as a career path (Nye, 1997). Thus, it is plausible that this de-
legitimization may contribute to a downward spiral in the publics perception and
in the reputation of government at all levels. This latter effect was recently
documented in an opinion survey conducted on behalf of the Partnership for
Trust in Government by the Hart-Teeter Organization that documented young
peoples negative attitudes toward government service (Barr, 1997). Of course,
there may be several reasons responsible for such a decline.
The research described in this dissertation attempts to join these
theoretical strands by adding to the work of the public policy theorists that call for
the democratization of the policy process. The intention is to examine what is
both a participatory process and a more democratized method for making policy
and the convergence of the two. This thesis explores the interactive concept of
trust and its relationship to participation, which is assumed to convey legitimacy
to government generally and the policy process specifically (Barber, 1984). It
examines whether an alternative political process can foster increased trust in
government in the context of the policy making process independent of

The theoretical bases that this hypothesisparticipation leads to trust that
promotes the greater democratic legitimacy of governmentrests upon are
diverse and multi-disciplinary. They borrow from the economic and sociological
literature of group discourse and social capital, as well as from the post-positivist
theories of policy science and democratic governance that propose a more
inclusive system to foster openness and participation. The thrust of this
dissertation borrows from these literatures, with lesser attention given to the
specific meaning(s) of trust and also on theories of critical thought, as well as
public administrations claim to legitimacy.
Background and Problem Statement
Currently in the United States, citizens are said to be frustrated with
governing individuals and institutions, as well as with what they view as
pluralisms degradation of liberal democratic processes (Lasch, 1995; Sandel,
1996; Nye, 1997; deLeon 1997). A popular (but largely oversimplified)
perception posits that the wholesale decline of societal institutions can be blamed
on the failure of government to shore up the values that foster a healthy society
(Hunter, 1996). Policy theorists have for decades lamented the lack of ability
(and perhaps the will) of policymakers to instill popular values that legitimize the
rules of society (Lasswell, 1960). The further degradation of the mass political
image is linked to the ever-occurring political scandals and the infusion of large
and problematic sums of money into the political system (both via campaign

funding and lobbying), adding to the perception of an eroding ethos among
politicians and public servants (Garment, 1991; Greider, 1992; Dionne, 1992;
deLeon, 1993).
It may not be altogether fair to place the burden of societal decline entirely
on the shoulders of representative democracy and its administrators. While it is
easy to blame the current system for creating and reinforcing the general
sentiment of apathy and disenfranchisement in the electorate, there are certainly
other contributing societal factors. Possibly, the over-reliance on government to
prescribe societal values and remedies has led to a significant decline in the civic
functioning upon which a more pluralistic society rests. However, the sustaining
resources of civic association and trust, as well as the general ability to discuss the
common good, do appear, to many observers, to be dwindling (Putnam, 1995;
Bellah, 1991; Putnam, 2000).
Much has been written about and many theories have speculated upon this
current societal malaise. No single or specific ameliorating prescription has been
as prevalent in the literature as the idea of increased societal participation in the
policy making process, specifically in terms of collaborative decision making and
stakeholder groups. Community building activities that set agendas, make policy
decisions, and assist in implementation, have gained a great deal of political
momentum as a means of adding value and legitimacy to government processes
generally and policy making in particular (Berry, et al., 1993). These community-

building activities have been especially important and well-regarded processes in
the environmental policy arena (Press, 1994; Guttman and Thompson, 1996).
Furthermore, the idea that more voluntary civic participation is crucial to a
more cohesive civic culture in America and would result in lower societal anomie,
has been gamering more grass roots support in circles outside of the field of
academic political theory (Coleman, 1990; Lasch, 1995; Mansbridge, 1990;
Durant, 1995). Ideas regarding social and civic trust, social capital, community
virtue, and responsibility (citizenship), as well as communitarianism, have
become popular topics in the political arena and media, as well as in the
disciplines of philosophy and ethics. These concepts have also been embraced by
organizations such as the National Civic League, the National Commission on
Civic Renewal, and the Enterprise for Common Ground as the necessary building
blocks of a better-functioning society.
The context in which these issues need to be considered is the current state
of societal functioning and as possible partial solutions to a number of disturbing
trends. A popular topic of political discussion has focused on the general state of
political and social dissatisfaction felt both personally and professionally on the
part of many Americans (Sandel, 1997). Opinion polls increasingly reflect the
cynicism, distrust and the perception of moral decline in both politics and society
in general. A Gallup poll taken in 1996 revealed that only 32% of Americans
have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in federal government. Seventy-
eight % of those polled stated that they believe that our leaders are more

concerned with managing their images than with solving our nations problems.
The poll went on to report that Americans believe that their society is in general
decline and that the most apparent targets of blame are the government and
politicians. The poll, interestingly, also notes that the respondents are not
straining toward revolution1 in response to their convictions, but that in fact
55% of those polled remain optimistic about the potential for solving these
problems and that they are, for the most part, idealistic about the country overall
(Hunter, 1996).
More recently, a national poll conducted in June of 2000 by National
Public Radio, the Kaiser Foundation and Harvards Kennedy school of
government found that almost one-quarter of Americans believe that the federal
government is a major threat to their personal liberties while almost half of those
Americans polled felt the federal government is at least some threat to their rights
and freedoms. The poll also reported that 60 % of Americans believe that the
federal government does what is right only some of the time while 10 % said it
never does what is right. Antithetical to this mistrust, the survey discovers that
those Americans polled want the federal government to do more in terms of its
involvement in national problems (Rosenbaum et al., 2000).
1 In addressing the lack of a more consolidated revolutionary response (apart from the rising numbers of anu-govemment
groups), it may in part be explained as an attribute of our constitutional heritage that has decreased our ability to act as a
group (Kemmis, 1990). The Madisonian bent toward individualism, aimed originally at reducing the impact of the
tyranny of the majority as a by-product of factionalism, may have resulted in such civic disenfranchisement that we are
lacking even in a consistent national response to our shared apparent frustrations. Revolution then, it may be said, has been
supplanted by personal and societal disenfranchisement and is manifested by the more systemic anger, crime and social
self-immolating that is frequently reported by Bennett (1996) and his cohorts.

In terms of a problem statement, One needs to ask, what is the possible
result of this apparent cynicism? If there is nothing more than a national
attitude problem, is there really a basis for social and political action to the
degree that we need to review the mechanisms of government process as a means
to possibly realign the functioning of civil society? While those Americans polled
are mainly restrained in their disquiet, some are not. In April 1997, U.S. News &
World Report wrote that since the terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City in April of
1995, public interest and involvement in militia groups has grown, not
diminished. They report that anti-government groups have shed their sub-culture
status for more mainstream images, and that they have begun attracting a broader
range of support. Currently, all 50 states harbor organized anti-government groups
and since 1995, the number of patriot and militia groups has increased by 60 %
(Tharp and Holstein, 1997).
William Bennett, speaking on behalf of his Empower America group asks,
why, when we as a country have so much material wealth, are Americans so
cynical, so distressed, and so angry with each other? He presents the huge
increase in the use of the anti-depressant pharmaceutical Prozac, as well as the
ever-present problems of drug and alcohol abuse as unmistakable signs of our
increasing national discontent. He further notes what he describes as a dramatic
national increase in rudeness, incivility, litigiousness, road rage, victim
mentality, suicide (particularly among youth) and complaints about stress (1996).
While Bennett does not cite systematic data for his beliefs, he is joined by

colleagues from both sides of the political aisle in decrying the current state of
societal anomie.
These issues seem to reflect a genuine and disturbing lack of respect for
individual dignity and civility, as well as a trend toward the devaluation of
personal empathy. To the degree that these issues are substantive and not simply
value judgments, they call for a re-appraisal of social, as well as possible formal
government, processes.
Beyond any speculation of our societal mental health (such as the dramatic
description by Bennett), it may be sufficient to judge that democracy is crippled
based solely on our electoral participation. Average voter turnout for presidential
elections since World War II wavers at approximately 40% of registered voters
and much lower for local and seemingly more influential elections. This is the
lowest turnout in western non-compulsory democracies. In a country where
voting is the primary and most nominal civic responsibility, this abysmal turnout
signals to some the bankruptcy of democracy (Barber, 1984; deLeon, 1997).
The linkage of cause(s) and effect(s) for the societal dilemmas described
here is not always straightforward. In fact, they are theoretically speculative and
somewhat tenuous. The situations described here may be attributable to the
dissolution of trust throughout the system, which, in turn, may be the result of two
different but related problems. The first problem is political and can be said to
fall under the heading of legitimacy as it relates to a general theory of
government. This problem is exemplified by the well-reported observation that

most citizens voice dissatisfaction with what they see as unethical behavior in
government stemming from the infusion of too much political interest group
money. This infusion of money, they believe, leads to an imbalance in
representative democracy tipped in favor of the wealthy few (Hellinger and Judd,
1991). Trust that government will do the right thing based on a judgment other
than economic (e.g., greed) is seemingly waning. This trust, however, is the
essence of representative democracy and central to the efficient functioning of
government process (Putnam 1991, 1993a; Fukayama, 1995).
The second part of the problem is rooted in the observation that society
itself has become fragmented, less cohesive and more concerned with individual
pursuit. Societal changes such as the urbanization, then sub-urbanization, of
America, as well as the freedom afforded by the automobile have over the past 60
years affected our lives, making us as individuals more mobile and self-reliant
(Putnam, 1995a, 1995b). The ease of communication and freedom of mobility
has, to a great degree, resulted in the transformation of the boundaries that used to
define our personal and political relationships (Putnam, 1993b, 1995a, 1995b,
2000). While a debate over the question of whether we still maintain satisfying
personal relationships is not germane to this research, it remains true that the
patterns of personal networks in America have changed. While Americans were
once in close contact with neighbors, immediate and extended family and
community almost as an everyday necessity, today they are free to choose social
groups based on a whole new rationale, and have extended these to professional

and long-distance relationships unbounded by neighborhood, social, economic or
racial lines.
Along with this change in relationship patterns has come a decrease in
social functioning as it relates to civic matters. This transience and freedom has
diminished the concept of community and, accordingly, our sense of citizenship
and our civic virtue have suffered. It has been theorized that trust is strongly
correlated to civic and social engagement (Putnam 1993a, 1993b; Putnam 1995;
Fukayama, 1995). As a consequence of this personal, diminished sense of
community, trust in the aggregate social and political institutions and their
members has become a casualty with possibly unforeseen consequences.
Based on these observations, the problem, simply stated, is that at no time
in recent (recorded) American history has trust in government been lower. The
problems associated with the lack of trust in government are in part perceived to
be attributes of greater societal issues such as those described above. This lack of
trust may be precipitated by a number of both social and political changes. Based
on an examination of the possible causes, the solution may partially be resolved
by an alternative method of making public policies as numerous scholars
(Mansbridge, 1995; Ingram and Smith, 1993; Dryzek, 1990; deLeon, 1992;
Bachrach and Botwinick, 1992; Crosby, Kelly et al., 1986) have suggested.
Greater citizen participation in making policies may be an alternative that helps
foster legitimacy, reinforce a sense of community and restore more than a
semblance of trust in government.

Purpose and Scope
At the time of this writing, the United States is significantly divided over
the question of governments legitimate role in shaping the country. We live in a
country where Presidential scandals, partisan bickering and questions about what
our national priorities should be, who should address them, and how they should
be funded, consume our headlines and media. In addition to social and ethical
problems, each year issues become more technically challenging and multiply
with the myriad externalities of progress and with a more diverse society
displaying a vast array of interests and preferences. The shrinking global
distances and the increased pressure to produce and compete in a world economy
has placed great strain on the resources and natural environment that we depend
on to sustain not only our generation, but also the others to follow. It seems that
in America, there is no consensus on how to address increasingly technical
environmental problems, what the most pressing problems are and, in the case of
global warming and ozone depletion, whether they are problems at all (Fischer,
One of the more challenging experiments of the 1990s environmental
policy has been the use of public participation in policy-making deliberations to
help remediate environmental hazards (Press, 1994; Beierle and Konisky, 2000).
In addition to sometimes providing practical and innovative solutions in
accordance with community values within a prescribed range of technical
standards, these processes can seemingly help bridge the gaps between

government and populace and may also help to bridge some of the gaps occurring
between factions within the populace (Guttman and Thompson, 1996; Press,
1994). It has become obvious that government cannot shoulder the entire load for
each social and environmental issue and new methods for fostering activist
communities to help ease the burden are well worth considering (Beierle and
Konisky, 2000). The participatory schemes examined in this research are
inherently political. That is, they are concerned with political situations and
policy outcomes, as opposed to strict social interaction and participation, also
reputed to be integral to efficacious democratic functioning (deLeon, 1995). The
linkage of political participation to both internal and external political efficacy
and especially trust in government, seems more straightforward and somewhat
closer to the theory and literature of public administration and particularly the
policy sciences.
The advantages of such community and personal participatory schemes
have been actively debated and at this time there is no clear consensus on whether
or not there is merit in this approach. Certainly, empirical data are lacking. Louis
Brandeis once referred to the individual states as laboratories of democracy.
That depiction seems like an apt description of the experimental aspect of these
microcosms that test the same type of representation questions that our
constitutions framers debated in seminal America (Press, 1994; Kemmis, 1990).
The public policy issues examined in this research employ environmental
policy as their frame of reference. The environmental questions seem ideally

suited to the debate over participation for several reasons. Often, and even in the
case of non-point specific pollution, the detrimental effects of pollution are
localized to an area that effects a community almost on an individual-by-
individual basis. A basic premise of the community as problem solver process
assumes that the vast array of values and priorities of the community can be
represented and articulated. Additionally there is the assumption that the
remediation of environmental hazards cannot easily be affected without
incorporating the membership of the community into the final plan. Therefore, the
ability to examine the effects of participation on buy-in, as opposed to
alienation, are featured.
Since societys environmental issues tend to be some of our most
technically challenging, often incorporating great amounts of (sometimes
inconclusive) scientific information, it may be assumed that if public participation
in the remediation of these issues can create viable outcomes, the argument that
only policy elites have the expertise to deal with the complexities of analysis and
formulation can be at least somewhat debased (Fischer, 1993b, 2000). Finally,
the issues in these environmental process are those that often pit the health and
safety of our communities against their economic well being, making them the
some of our most basic and important, as well as our most divisive (Press, 1994;
Fischer, 1995, 2000). If community collaboration can work in these often
rancorous debates, they then hold strong promise for application to other
community issues as well (Beierle and Konisky, 2000).

Unless there is a miraculous technological panacea, it seems only certain
that natural resource problems will intensify with the worlds ever-expanding
population and economy. Furthermore, there is little hope that more participatory
procedures for creating remedial policy for environmental degradation are a final
solution to these problems or that they should be used for every type of
environmental policy question (Steelman and Ascher, 1997; Lynn and Busenburg,
1995). However, that having been stated, there is at least some hope that these
participatory processes can contribute bottom up solutions that may be effective
in conjunction with top down regulation to increase trust and legitimacy in
government and therefore aid in effective and successful implementation
procedures through community consensus (Fischer, 1995; 2000; Kemmis, 1990;
Press, 1994).
The research scope for this subject matter is ripe with important topics.
Beyond the limited interests addressed in this research, questions addressing the
quality of decisions emerging from participatory groups need to be addressed
(Steelman and Ascher, 1997). Furthermore, the relative successes or failures of
groups operating in the environmental arena can and should be looked at to begin
to determine which types of problems, communities and participation schemes are
most appropriate and useful (Kenney, 1999; Steelman and Ascher, 1997; Fischer,

This dissertation examines the functioning of participatory groups working
to resolve a local environmental hazard. It examines the attitudes of participants
through both interviews and a time-series survey to explore a number of areas
relating to trust, legitimacy, participation and the practicality of working within
such groups. Chapter 2 of this dissertation contains the review of topical and
relevant literature germane to the major theoretical strands that address
democracy, participation and legitimacy as they relate to the public administration
and public policy. Chapter 3 gives an overview of recent environmental laws and
regulation relating ultimately to the practice of incorporating public participation
into decisions about environmental remediation and policy implementation.
Chapter 4 outlines the methodology employed for this research and the analytic
techniques for determining if the data yield any significant outcomes. Chapter 5
is a discussion of the survey analysis results and a summary of interviews with
participants in participatory groups that have been established and functioning
much longer than those of the surveyed groups. Five interviewees from a group
that has been determined successful were contrasted with the observations of
five interviewees from a group deemed unsuccessful. Finally, Chapter 6 will
address the overall results, conclusions and any implications of the research, as
well as address its limitations and suggest further opportunities for research on
this subject.

Introduction to Literature Review
The literature reviewed in this section falls under several headings that are
distinct, but touch upon a number of central issues so that they may seem to
overlap. The reviewed academic literature pertains to the idea of participation in
a policy making community group as being a possible resource for instilling
citizen trust in government and society. The first body of literature examined is
democratic history and political theory. It is followed by brief reviews of the
literature pertaining to public administration theory as it pertains to legitimacy,
participatory democracy and critical thought, social capital and trust and the
philosophy of communitarianism.
Democratic Theory and History
The optimum balance between popular republican participation
(Jeffersonian republican democracy) and liberal democratic representation
(Madisonian liberal democracy) as it applies to societal governance has been a
recurring conundrum in the theory and functioning of the United States rule-
making processes since its constitutional beginnings. Well before that, Aristotle

spoke to the issue of responsive citizen representation by government as being
integrally linked to societal justice. Aristotle discussed the idea that common
popular assemblies by their very nature contained the collective wisdom and
qualities essential to good decision making (Cook, 1971). To underscore the
university of those ideas, in a very different political culture, Confucius also
spoke to the civic and participatory responsibilities of citizens as basic
components of an appropriate social order and as central to the question of how
we (societies in general) should live. In fact, a significant number of his analects
deal with the idea that citizen association and civic virtue are necessary
ingredients for the successful functioning of government and therefore society as
a whole (Cleary, 1992).
The term democracy comes from the Greek words demos, meaning the
people and kratein, which means to rule (Cook, 1971). It has come to refer to
a political system in which the people of a state maintain social order through any
form of government that they (as a more or less united people) choose to
establish. In modem democracies, the supreme authority is exercised for the most
part by representatives elected by popular suffrage. Typically, democratic systems
have included a mechanism by which the peoples representatives may be
relieved of office by the electorate according to the legal procedures of recall and
referendum or elections. In democratic systems, these representatives are, in
principle, responsible to the electorate. In many democracies, such as the United
States, both the executive head of government and the legislature are elected. In

typical constitutional monarchies such as the United Kingdom and Norway, only
the legislators are elected, and from their ranks a cabinet and a prime minister are
chosen. Regardless of its early roots in history, it was not until the late 19th and
early 20th centuries that democracy became a popular and feasible form of
government (Williams, 1976).
Although often used interchangeably, the terms democracy and republic
are not synonymous (Kemmis, 1990). Both systems delegate the power to govern
to their elected representatives. In a republic, however, these officials are
expected to act on their own best judgment of the needs and interests of the
country (Kemmis, 1990). The officials in a democracy more generally and
directly reflect the known or ascertained views of their constituents, sometimes
subordinating their own judgment. These competing ideas are the crux of the
debate that ensued as the founding fathers decided the philosophic and practical
basis of the United States Constitution. The terms are not always relegated as
defined nor do they always represent the factions that most represent their
qualities. The tension between the competing concepts results from the subtle but
important differences as they relate to the degree to which the people in a
democratic system influence the rules that bind them as a society (Honneth,
1998). That tension between these governing philosophies still raises important
questions and supplies the issues that drive this research.
The American political system is an extension of governing concepts and
philosophical thinking that originated in 16th century England and specifically is

attributable to what has been labeled liberalism and the philosophies of John
Locke and John Stuart Mill. Emerging in post-enlightenment England, liberalism
is best defined as a political theory that promotes and consists of regular elections,
constitutional moderation, limited government by consent, individual rights and
competing political parties (Ricci, 1971). These ideas are essentially what the
governing institutions of the United States have always embodied. Liberalism is
based on three basis tenets. Liberalisms primary tenet consists of the idea that
men are rational and that they should have the liberty to act in ways that will
promote individual happiness. Liberalism is also premised on the idea that the
individual rather than the group is the primary political unit as demonstrated by
the one man one vote tradition. The third conviction of liberalism is the idea
that citizen interests are best transmitted to government through a democratic
representative system (Ricci, 1971).
Although many thinkers were influential in the discussion and
conceptualization of the democratic concept, much of what had been considered
in the formulation of modem democratic thought owed to the philosophies of the
French post-enlightenment thinkers Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Montesquieu.
These philosophers were especially influential in the formulation of American
democratic ideology as it pertained to both participation and to the question of
whether the individual or the group was the political unit of merit. Both men
contemplated the true nature of man in an attempt to reason inductively for the
most appropriate and logical societal state or governing structure. Rousseaus

influential Social Contract (1762) attempted to visualize ancient mans true soul
and reasoned then toward a society and government that would ultimately
maximize mans happiness. He envisioned a community based on the free
societies of Athens and ancient Rome. Rousseau was a republican in his belief in
the natural freedom and equality of each man. He strongly held the importance of
civic virtue and a socially (civically) educated man as the cornerstone of a civil
society. He noted the importance of trust in civil relationships:
The requirements of a free society were best met by the Greek
cities and Rome, although they were not perfect, and Rousseaus
ultimate solution is an improvement upon them. They were small
so that everyone could know everyone else and hence have both
common interests and trust. They were governed by the people so
that the rulers and ruled were one and the same; there were thus no
fundamental differences of interest between the governors and the
governed (Bloom, 1987, p.561)
Montesquieu makes much the same case as Rousseau, basing his premised
ideal democracy on his own convictions about the true nature of man.
Montesquieu, also a humanist, considered all men equals and was highly critical
of the despotism he thought was necessarily inherent in monarchies as a
governmental ruling structure. Montesquieu attempted to address the problems
associated with governing an area of great size by initially hypothesizing a
confederation of city-states or small republics as being most conducive to good
governmental organization. When he was unable to rationalize the efficacy of
public input into the confederation scheme, he later came to decide that a
democratized monarchy acting in unison with a legislature directed by citizens

was the optimum configuration of a just government (deLeon, 1997).
Montesquieu attempted to balance the need for citizen participation with the
practical realities of governing a large territory and was therefore influential in the
eventual separation of government powers and the recognition of moderation as a
governing virtue in the United States (Lowenthal, 1986). Montesqueiu, in spite of
his monarchal assertions, believed that the best of governments will have a
massive popular foundation which will guarantee its concern for the common
good (Lowenthal, 1986, p. 585). Montesquieu also much admired the English
system of government (of his time) for its recognition of the sovereignty of the
The atomistic view of the individual as the center of the political universe
tended to discount the group as a legitimate political unit. This view was
promoted in the United States by the federalists in their political treatises (most
notably The Federalist Papers) that were ultimately influential in the formulation
of the United States Constitution and subsequently the formative views of the
proper role of government in the emerging state (Diamond, 1987). Specifically,
Madisons articulation of the danger of the tyranny of the majority from
Federalist #10 can be attributed to the liberal philosophy (Rackove, 1996;
Morone, 1990).
The view of the republic, as differentiated from the liberal democratic
philosophy, held that the public, group or community was the political unit of
consideration (Kemmis, 1990). Thomas Jefferson championed this populist view

and these competing political preferences became the foundation of the struggle
for the constitutional ideology:
Republicanism was an intensive brand of politics; it was, heart and
soul, a politics of engagement. It depended first upon people being
deeply engaged with one another (rejoicing and mourning,
laboring and suffering together) and second upon citizens being
directly and profoundly engaged with working out the solutions to
public problems, by formulating and enacting the common good.
The federalist alternative to this republican politics of engagement
was a politics of radical disengagement. The political theory that
appeared in the Federalist Papers put far less weight than did the
republican theory either upon citizens being engaged with one
another or upon their solving problems by formulating a vision of
the common good. What the federalists proposed was to substitute
for republican engagement two major alternative means of
insuring domestic tranquility. One of these means was a highly
complex procedural machinery of checks and balances and mixed
forms of government. The other was quite simply the western
frontier. For the supporters of the Constitution, both the
procedural republic and the frontier were essentially ways of
avoiding the necessity (and what they saw as the instability) of the
republican politics of engagement. (Kemmis, 1990, p. 12-13)
The competing view to that of the federalists was the Jeffersonian ideal of direct
Thomas Jefferson made perhaps the best remembered (or at least
the most often quoted) American argument for direct democracy:
I (conclude) every opinion with the injunction, divide the country
into wards. In these small, autonomous, constituencieslittle
republics, Jefferson called themFree men could control their
own political destinies. Citizens would meet, deliberate, decide,
and implement. In time, a romantic, yeomen democracy was
imputed to New England towns, and these peaceable kingdoms
became the reflexive illustration of the Jeffersonian principle
(Morone, 1990, p. 5-6)
The notion of small wards or little republics was vigorously debated and
argued against by the federalist movement who saw a dynamic central

government as the most practical for reasons of both civil defense and especially
commerce through its ability to create a central bank and uniform currency. The
extent of the territory under consideration of a central government was so large
that the possibility of public deliberation of the common good was precluded. It
simply was not practical to expect citizens to congregate and commune as the
distances between them and the political considerations that separated them
became increasingly great. Self-government, proclaimed Alexander Hamilton at
the Constitutional Convention, was not possible in a territory so vast.
While Jefferson has been hailed as a populist democratic visionary and
still to this day serves as the symbol of the voice of the common man, some
maintain that the reputation is somewhat apocryphal. While in absentia in Paris,
Jefferson supported the Madisonian-influenced Constitution (Dahl, 1956). Some
political scientists also report that there is no real evidence to support the assertion
that Jefferson ever truly championed or held strong convictions about the equality
of each individual citizen, and that both he and Madison believed that elites would
rule the country even without a royal court or the trappings of nobility. The
class divisions of the time were such that it was a simple fait accompli that society
would be governed by a superior class of man:
Under Jeffersonian theory, the laboring masses were good
enough and wise enough to choose their own rulers, to separate
the wheat from the chaff, and in general they would elect the
really good and wise. But Jefferson never maintained that
ordinary people should actually ran the government or tell their
chosen representatives what to do. Rather, once the election was
over, they should leave government to their betters or as he

preferred to put it, to natural aristocrats of superior virtue and
talent. That was the essence of Jeffersonian democracy
(Richards, 1977, p. 23)
What Jefferson really objected to was a strong executive branch and the
loss of power this accorded the individual states. The reasons for these objections
were perhaps more than ideological as Jefferson was presumably aware of the
strong possibility of the more commercially oriented North becoming more
powerful and influential than his agrarian South (Risjord, 1965).
Regardless of this debate, the constitutional ideology of the Federalists
shaped the face of early American democracy and has deep implications to this
day. Due in no small part to this ideology, the U.S. has seemingly diminished
civic association and community deliberation and has devalued civic virtue by
becoming a nation that prioritizes individualism and prides itself on being
comprised of self-reliant citizens. This individualism may then be a consequence
of that liberal-rational democratic environment that emphasizes personal freedom
and individual economic attainment over community (Beard 1965; Kemmis
1990). This emphasis dates back to the American Constitutional Convention
where civic republicanism (Jeffersonian republican democracy) was precluded in
favor of a federalist central government (Madisonian liberal democracy) that
could promote a more economically oriented and, what was assumed to be, a
more viable civil society (deLeon, 1997):
Madison, Hamilton, and the Federalists, fearful of the instability of
republican governments, explicitly urged abandoning the language
of civic virtue. They concentrated instead upon creating

mechanisms to keep tyranny at bay without requiring common
goals or institutions of intense popular participation. These
developments had a fateful impact on political life and political
discourse in America. The Federalist constitution of 1787 and the
language of political mechanics it advanced together
institutionalized the notion that politics is a business of balancing
interests... Where the civic republicans had emphasized conscious
responsibility for the destiny of the political community, the
Federalists emphasized the constitution as a framework that could
protect the workings of a more commercially competitive civil
society (Sullivan, 1982, p. 12)
The national environment fostered by this central philosophy proved to be
one in which there is reliance on a market-oriented government premised on the
Adam Smiths economic conceptualization of an invisible hand. This
abstraction was extended to the democratic concept through the idea that the
values of individual preference and self-interest should be recognized as the
primary democratic good. This economic philosophy was further extended to
democratic functions through the mechanism of voting for the representative most
likely to promote these goods, not unlike the economic purchase transaction
(Kemmis 1990).
In Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, J.A. Shumpeter (1943)
specifically described this arrangement as a political free market. He described
democracy as That institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in
which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle
for the peoples vote (Shumpeter, 1943, p. 269). According to Pateman:
Schumpeter compared the political competition for votes to the
operation of the economic market; voters like consumers choose
between the policies (products) offered by competing political

entrepreneurs and the parties regulate the competition like trade
associations in the economic sphere (1970, p. 4)
This economic underpinning, coupled with the tenets of liberal
democracy, tended to promote and value individual freedom and choice over a
more paternalistic or centralized community order. It has resulted in a current
societal ethic that undervalues civic virtue and its associated public or common
good (Fukayama, 1995; Bowles, 1986). These concepts and philosophies, when
considered in an historic context, have been the most fundamental in shaping
American society in the 21st century.
Political writers at the beginning of the 20th century formulated
empirically based theories about the viability of popular participatory avenues as
societies around the world became more industrialized and complex. A popular
consensus concluded that a ruling elite class was needed to coordinate and
structure social organization. Political philosopher Georg W. F. Hegel reportedly
believed the United States to be no state at all due to the absence of a ruling
bureaucratic class and ruling monarchy to decide the permanent national interest
(Morone, 1990). Italian political scientist Gaetano Mosca examined the
possibility of sustaining democracy in those changing times and in his influential
treatise concluded that an elite ruling class was essential to social organization.
He rationalized this undemocratic prospect by also reporting that there should be
some representative mechanism established to integrate the will of the common
citizen (Mosca, 1939).

Robert Michels concurred by proclaiming his theory of the iron law of
oligarchy. Michels reported with that concept that democracy and organization
were inconsistent principles and that organization in emerging industrialized
societies was the more urgent need (1959). These men were essentially arguing
the same federalist perspective, substituting the issue of complexity for the initial
consideration of the countrys size and expansive frontier.
The debate on the proper formula for democracy continued into the
American 20th century, and in 1927 John Dewey proclaimed that the cure for the
ailments of democracy is more democracy (p. 3). Dewey outlined a civic
republicanism theory of democracy critical of the view that citizen responsibility
should primarily consist of periodically legitimizing the states mandate by way
of the polls. Dewey maintained that this numerical directive of majority was
not a reasonable manifestation of democratic values (Honneth, 1998). Instead,
Dewey maintained that a participatory democracy that furthered the opinions and
ideas of the individual as part of a community group was necessary to sustain
democracy. While he [Dewey] constantly invoked science as a model for
politics, he had in mind a community dedicated to open inquiry, free expression,
and constant self-correction, not the application of a single rigid method to public
problems (Galston, 1993, p.145). Dewey reported that social deliberation and
discourse in the Great Community were necessary aspects of democracy that
served to equalize citizens regardless of class association. Dewey criticized

industrial capitalism and hierarchical politics in the name of democratic
participation. (Honneth, 1998, p.145).
In the early part of the 20th century, Dewey took part in a published
discourse with political theorist Walter Lippman. Lippman opposed Deweys
more open view of democracy (Lippman, 1923) and instead held the view that
democracy was best served by the detached and scientific corps of experts who
could distill quality decisions without the distraction of public debate (deLeon,
1997; Lasch, 1995). Both sides of this debate make valid points based on
different core values, beliefs and perhaps differing interpretations of the
Constitution and its intents, thus sustaining the contest that continues today.
Also, critical to the history of American democratic functioning and its
recent modem evolution, is the turbulence caused by the Second World War and
the emergence of the post-war international power structure. This emerging
international order emphasized a long-term need in the United States for stability
that was assumed to be only attainable by a powerful (and hopefully benevolent)
central government. Carole Pateman has observed:
By the middle of the century even the ideal itself seemed to many
to have been called in question; at least, democracy was still the
ideal, but it was the emphasis on participation that had become
suspect and with it the classical formulation of democratic
theory. The collapse of the Weimar Republic, with its high rates of
mass participation, into fascism, and the post-war establishment of
totalitarian regimes based on mass participation, albeit
participation backed by intimidation and coercion, underlay the
tendency for participation to become linked to the concept of
totalitarianism rather than that of democracy. The spectre of
totalitarianism also helps explain the concern with the necessary

conditions for stability in a democratic polity, and a further factor
here was the instability of so many states in the post-war world,
especially ex-colonial states that rarely maintained a democratic
political system on western lines (1970, p. 2)
These influencing factors help establish a trust and reliance on a growing
central government with at least its limited legitimacy founded in the advent of
Roosevelts New Deal (Morone, 1990).
It has been speculated that at the beginning of the 21st century, the United
States, as a country, has not satisfactorily accommodated the conflicting
principles of democracy. Dryzek (1990) describes those conflicting principles as
the broad construction of political authority and collective mandate of government
with the ability to rationally solve collective problems through the assimilation
of public values as determined by social deliberation (Dryzek, 1990).
Furthermore, the schism between the degree to which representation should
depend on majority public opinion as it relates to republican functioning remains
debatable. On this subject, Dahl writes:
What I am going to call the Madisonian theory of democracy is an
effort to bring off a compromise between the power of the
majorities and the power of the minorities, between the political
equality of all adult citizens on the one side, and the desire to limit
their sovereignty on the other. ..Asa political theory (however),
the compromise (Madisonian democracy) delicately papers over a
number of cracks without quite concealing them. It is no accident
that preoccupation with the rights and wrongs of majority rule has
run like a red thread through American political thought since
1789. For if most Americans seem to have accepted the legitimacy
of the Madisonian political system, criticism of its rather shaky
rationale never quite dies down; and a consequence, no doubt, the
Madisonian theses must themselves be constantly reiterated or
even enlarged upon (1956, p. 4)

It has been further argued that by the very nature of the democratic
invention, the two conceptsthe social and political aspects of democracyare
destined to constantly compete and be inevitably in tension (Arendt, 1977;
Morone, 1990). Furthermore it has been speculated that the administration of such
broad political authority and rational governance can only be effectively
maintained by extensive bureaucracy (Weber, 1968), which tends to stifle
democracy (Dryzek, 1990; Morone, 1990). It has also been reasoned that societies
(countries, cultures) that have a more developed resource of group (social-
political) trust (social capital) will have a competitive advantage over those with
less trust and social capital in tht global economy (Almond and Verba, 1963;
Fukayama 1993a; Putnam, 1993a, 1995, 2000).
For all its weighty and auspicious character, the term democracy is for the
most part a normative concept. This fact is reflected in the variations between the
constitutions of all the countries politically defined and considered democracies
(Nino, 1996). As Robert Dahl, perhaps the pre-eminent democratic theorist of the
20th century, has observed, There is no democratic theorythere are only
democratic theories (1956, p.l). Because the democratic concept is normative
and the proper mixture of representation and direct citizen input is not strictly
defined, the call for a more direct democracy has not subsided in the United
States. Citizens often feel dissatisfied with the representation (or lack thereof)
afforded them and discontent with what they feel is the over-responsive

representation of an elite minority strata of society (Dionne, 1992; Greider, 1992;
Lasch, 1995). These phenomena, in tandem with the emergence of new radical
political movements, has kept the call for a common social deliberative voice in
public policy vital (deLeon, 1997).
Collaborative community decision making by citizen group processes has
gained momentum in both academia and some government agencies as a method
of instilling the values of the effected and thus legitimizes government. Its
proponents purport that collaborative decision making is a feasible and
legitimizing alternative to an elitist corps of detached experts, both in terms of
outcomes and process equity (Dryzek, 1990; deLeon, 1992; Fischer, 1993). This
dissertation research looks beyond the specific decision process and facilitation
style and more specifically into the personal perspectives of the participants of
this group process as they are influenced by the group participation process.
Critical to this idea of discursive (i.e. participatory) democracy is the
ability of those undertaking the process to be of sufficient competency to drive the
discussion. The idea that this critical process is itself promoting that capable
group mind is prevalent in the literature (Guttman and Thompson, 1996). The
process, while dependent on an enlightened populous for success, serves to act as
an enlightening exercise in a symbiotic process (Mansbridge, 1990, 1995). The
assumptions regarding participation in a policy formulating endeavor and their
effects on citizenship and ability are based on the idea that citizens are enriched in
terms of ones powers of thought, feeling and action (Kaufman, 1969). As a

consequence of this enrichment, citizenship is re-invigorated by virtue of the
enlightened process and the equity of the procedure (Mansbridge, 1990, 1995;
Pateman, 1970; Habermas, 1990; Warren, 1993; Gadamer, 1975).
As the policy sciences have matured, the idea of an elite policy corps of
intellectuals determining the rules of society has been frequently challenged
(Lasswell, 1971). Likewise, as the legitimacy of governing individuals and
institutions have come lately under popular scrutiny, the question of who rules?
becomes still more germane (Dahl, 1961). The call for democratization of the
policy sciences by way of more inclusive and participatory means has created a
vanguard of theorists who essentially argue that the future of a policy science (and
perhaps democracy itself) hinges on this democratizing prospect as the issues of
fairness, legitimacy and buy-in are paramount (Redford, 1969; Fischer, 1980;
Kweit and Kweit, 1981; Barber, 1984; Dryzek, 1989; Kweit, 1981; Crosby, Kelly
et al., 1986; Jenkins-Smith, 1990; deLeon, 1992).
In summary, the democratic theory literature is intended to deliver a
history of the governing political concept that oversees the manufacture of public
policy decisions that affect the lives of every American. It attempts to portray an
historical element of contradictory philosophies inherent in the formulation and
delivery of the concept. From the constitutional beginning of the United States,
the appropriate mixture of political representation as opposed to direct citizen
decision making has been debated.

Public Administration Theory
In a 1997 Public Administration Review article, Kenneth P. Ruscio wrote,
Trust lies at the nexus of the practice and theory of public administrationand it
provides students of public administration with a strong link to the other social
sciences and political philosophy (1997, p. 454 ). This thinking simply sums up
the idea that impartial representation, accountability and equity are the
cornerstones that legitimize the public administration endeavor (Rohr, 1986,
1993). Without public trust in these principles, the public administration field is
rendered impotent in the United States. As the discipline relegated to help
instruct, implement and oversee public policy, trust and legitimacy must be
paramount concerns (Carnevale, 1995). Legitimacy is seen as the moral
grounding of government (Brown, 1998, p. 290). The legitimacy crisis is
strongly associated with citizens diminishing level of trust of government at all
levels (Nye, 1997). The legitimacy crisis is described as:
The widespread crisis in government legitimacy now sweeping the
United States and many other industrialized democracies has many
manifestations. Its most extreme form is in the militia movements
that capture the headlines with devastating acts, but the less
dramatic examples may be even more important. These include
threats to Department of Interior employees trying to do their jobs
on public lands, hatred of the police, candidates who get elected
primarily because they run against government, and widespread
tax revolts that have swept our nation.. .Of course the legitimacy
crisis has many roots: economic performance and dislocation, a
corrupt campaign finance system, indecisive and illegitimate wars,
and poor government performance (Brown, 1998, p.290)

This link between trust and legitimacy is a basis for the public
administration literature as it relates to participation. That link is based on the
idea that trust stems from citizens feelings of being well represented by having
their political concerns adequately addressed (Nye, 1997). As previously
addressed in the democratic theory section of this literature review, legitimacy is
generally viewed in terms of the federal level of government and its relationship
and continued relevance to the constitutional heritage as originally conceived and
ratified (Stivers, 1993; Wamsley et al., 1990; Rohr, 1993).
Since the mid-1960s, studies have found that trust in government has
waned substantially (Lipset, 1995; Nye, 1997; Nuestadt, 1997). Several factors
have been the presumed culprits for this trust deficit including the war in
Vietnam, the Watergate scandal of the Nixon administration as well as the
increasing scrutiny of government processes and politicians personal conduct by
the media (Stillman, 1996). While much of this scrutiny and past transgressions
has been more prevalent for elected officials (Garment, 1991), the field of public
administration and public servants have had to share in the fallout of citizen
cynicism (Kweit and Kweit, 1980). The scrutiny has been damaging due to a
realization by the media that scandal and bad news are what attract public
attention. According to Richard E. Neustadt (1997), there is currently in the
United States a phenomenon whereby journalists are increasingly better trained to
ferret out stories of malfeasance, scandal, incompetence and waste in the public
sector. A post-Watergate professional journalistic mindset holds that aggressive

investigative reporting and the right story can make a reporters career.
Journalists may see themselves as moral watchdogs anointed as such by the first
amendment, they feel their endeavors are legitimized (Neutstadt, 1997, p. 182).
Equipped with increasingly sophisticated technology, the agents of media work to
create conflict and therefore distance between citizens and government and
thereby actively work to create mistrust and decreasing legitimacy. The
decreased legitimization by popular media of government figures extends beyond
the politician and is consequent to the image and authority of public servants and
bureaucrats (Goodsell, 1983; Nye, 1997).
In a 1997 treatise, Hugh Heclo addresses the Neustadt observation that
politicians and government workers have never been more closely watched and
scrutinized by both the media and watchdog groups. Congruently, he asserts
that never before have citizens been more courted, polled and informed by public
servants. Yet, he concludes, the average citizen feels less connected to
government due in part to the thickening layer of public pollsters, public relations
firms and media experts. Heclo labels this phenomenon the legitimacy paradox
(Nye et al, 1997).
While there are certainly external de-legitimizing forces at work, the
institution of government and its administrative systems may deserve much of the
blame for alienating the electorate. According to Mary M. Timmney:
Democracy is a messy system at best and not designed to be
efficient. Yet it is still the best form of government devised to
date. The development of public administration diminished

democracy by instilling experts in government positions at all
levels and disenfranchising citizens from much participation
beyond voting. Even with all our management techniques to
increase efficiency and efforts to reinvent and improve government
performance, public trust in public administration is at a historic
low (1998, p. 9)
Reinforcing that description and its implicit warning, Robert J. Gregory
expands on the implications of a legitimacy crisis:
Citizens who feel excluded from governing processes may display
increasingly cynical attitudes towards public administration, and
those who operate within those processes, seeing themselves
primarily as experts or managers rather than citizens, may feel
increasing contempt for those beyond. A vicious circle of
contempt and cynicism cannot be a fertile source of the trust and
goodwill necessary for effective and non-corruptive governance.
(1999, p. 64)
The scientific management perspective with its adherence to rules,
intended as bureaucratic reform in the latter part of the 19th century and prevalent
well into the 20th century, also helped to foster what has been popularly viewed
as a rigid and unresponsive kafkaesque public service (Morone, 1990; Kweit
andKweit, 1980, 1981).
In the middle of the 20th century, citizen resistance to this rational
professional management resulted in an outcry for more accountability to the
public (Box, 1998). Along these lines, the more recent reforms toward
privatization and the re-invention of public institutions in the name of results
and efficiency may have led to a de-emphasis of ethics and public standards and
therefore a lessening of public confidence in government institutions (Gregory,
1999). As the traditional lines between the public and private sectors become

increasingly blurred, the image of impartial public officials laboring for the
greater good of the state and public virtue has devolved to a lesser ideal of self-
service, bargaining, negotiation and competition (Viroli, 1992).
Recently, the criticisms of strict economistic approaches, such as those
based on public choice and new institutionalism theories, are not uncommon
(Green and Shapiro, 1995). It is, to a great degree, the same type of criticism that
resulted from the aforementioned scientific management methods begun in the
latter part of the 19th century. The contradictions and resulting problems of both
values and probity, resulting from a strict managerial philosophy of public
service, have been frequently discussed with the idea opening and humanizing
(reinventing) bureaucracies through de-regulation as a frequently discussed
prescription. (Kettl, 1993; Moe, 1994; Wilson, 1989; Fredrickson, 1996; Peters
and Savoie, 1996; Gregory, 1999).
This strict managerial philosophy as it relates to the problem of waning
legitimacy in administration has been frequently examined from an institutional
perspective (Kweit and Kweit, 1980, 1981). Building upon the characteristics
described by Max Weber (1968) in his classic description of Prussian
bureaucracy, it has been speculated that bureaucracy is the pervasive form of
public administration that must administer across an extensive territory and that
without profit maximization as a rational goal, extensive regulation, monitoring
and central management are imperative to their proliferation (Von Mise, 1944).

This accepted view helped to create the perception of a detached, insulated and
rigid (i.e. Weberian) bureaucracy in the minds of most Americans.
An economic view of the bureaucrat operating within these systems or
institutions as a rational maximizer, prioritizing personal gain (career
advancement) ahead of the public good has been a commonly accepted theory of
the economic behavior within bureaucracy (Tullock, 1965; Downs, 1967). In
response to the failure of exchange theory and to the failure of systems
approaches for rationing public resources, this theory was built upon with an eye
to understanding and changing bureaucratic behavior by examining the interaction
of the bureau and its environment, initially in a supply and demand set of
parameters (Niskanen, 1971).
Moreover, research indicates that the economic logic underlying both new
institutionalism and public choice theories of bureaucratic operation may run
counter to the effective reform and maintenance of standards of ethical probity
and integrity as they relate to personal corruption (Bradshaw, 1993). It has also
been noted that public choice theory as an administrative tenet has been
recognized as tending to reject concepts such as public service and public
spirit (Kamensky, 1996). Larry D. Terry (1993, 1998) maintains that some
aspects of entrepreneurship are fundamentally undemocratic in that it sanctions
domination and romanticized revolutionary change (Terry in L. deLeon and
Denhardt, 2000, p. 95).

The increasing privatization inherent in the reinvention schemes have also
come under scrutiny for blurring the boundary between the public and private and
by providing increased opportunity for corruption at their intersection (Gregory,
1999). Very often the same conduct that is criticized when it occurs in the public
service would be rewarded as an exercise of initiative in the private sector
(Bradshaw, 1993, p. 3). The narrow re-invention schemes may in fact be
warmed over theory, relying on their intellectual cousins [such as] public
choice theory, principle agent theory and transaction cost analysis (Kamensky,
1996), and as such should be recognized as implicitly rejecting democratic
citizenship, civic engagement and the public interest (more broadly conceived)
(L. deLeon and Denhardt, 2000, p. 96).
Moving beyond economically based institutional theories that attempt to
explain de-legitimization, Joseph S. Nye and Philip D. Zelikow (1997) examine
the effect of that de-legitimization on the belief strata in the common life of the
American citizen, which they state can be condensed to numerous levels. The
first is a sense of pride and nationalism that shows little degradation in polls and
research. The same is true of the second level, which is faith in the democracy
and the constitutional system of politics. It is at the next level, the institutions of
government, that trust has declined steadily for the past three decades. The next
levels are that of the electoral process that binds politicians to institutions and
finally that of the elected officials themselves. Research shows significant
diminishing trust at these two levels as well (Nye and Zelikow, 1997). It is the

institutional level that should be of greatest concern for public administrators as
bureaucracies and civil servants may be considered the practical extensions of
institutions because that is where the average citizen personally encounters the
institution (Goodsell, 1982). To the extent that trust translates to legitimacy, this
precipitous drop in the levels of trust constitutes a serious breach and one that
needs to be addressed. Laurence OToole summarizes, If administration is
indeed the core of modern government, then a theory of democracy in the
twentieth century must embrace administration.(1997, p. 443).
Furthermore, the idea that social capital theory may play an important role
in advancing the understanding of institutional roles and values as either an
augment or in counterpoint to these economic philosophies of reforms has been
advanced (Gregory, 1999). While social capital theory itself is addressed later in
this literature review, its specific application to public administration is addressed
here. Social capital theory that creates social trust is not anathema to more
economic logic but an integral (perhaps overlooked) aspect of social and
organization theories on the creation of wealth and cohesive society as fostered by
informal networks and the logic of collective action (Fukayama, 1995; Putnam,
1993a, 1993b). However, it has also been speculated that the level of civic
engagement in the community as it relates to social capital, is not as critical an
issue as many assume and it has been posed that unresponsive political
institutions are more of a threat to democracy. Specifically, it has been suggested
that the reform of political parties and campaign financing is more relevant to

bridging the gap between citizens and government and restoring civil society,
than, for example, citizens volunteering at their church or as scout leaders
(Berman, 1997). The question remains as to whether participation in non-
governmental settings contributes to feelings of political efficacy and
consequently perceived legitimacy in governing institutions and individuals
(Pateman, 1970; Putnam, 2000).
While not conspicuously identifying social capital as a variable, OToole
discusses the increased networking inherent to modem administrative
organizations. He states that as modem administrative schemes become less
hierarchical and insular, they are being shaped by reform theories that propose
more private and public cooperation in fulfilling their missions. This, he asserts,
can be good or bad depending on the values and actions of public administrators.
Ostensibly, OToole states that the prospects for democracy in a networked world
depend upon the norms adopted by the organizations and their agents. The claim
is that ethical, inclusive norms of reciprocity and fairness have implicit
repercussions for trust and legitimacy (OToole, 1997). While OToole
admittedly lacks data demonstrating a specific increase in networking and shared
programs through multi-actor decision making, the increase in public-private
partnerships as evidenced by collaborative environmental remediation groups
seems an obvious test case.
The idea that political/bureaucratic institutions are greatly responsible for
(or at least suffering from) decreasing trust and legitimacy by virtue of their

designs that inherently discourage citizen participation and inclusion has been
expanded upon (Gregory, 1999; March and Olsen, 1995). The reverse logic of
this idea is that institutional reform aimed at more democratization,
responsiveness and inclusion may counteract these trends (March and Olsen,
1998). In Democratic Governance, March and Olsen describe how the accepted
exchange theories of the individual in a democratic society, based on
individualism and self-interest, are incomplete in describing and explaining
democratic governance. In this book, the authors build upon the idea that
institutions should reflect democratic ideals and that these ideals self-perpetuate
and create a symbiotic transformation within these institutions as they prevail
upon a more democratic society (Also see Ostrom, 1990; Dahl, 1999). March and
Olsen simply propose constituting formal institutions of governance on ideals of
honor, justice and effectiveness as opposed to just the bargaining and the hard
realities of bottom line political necessity.
The March and Olsen prescription essentially calls for the inculcation of
social capital and the community-orientated values of responsiveness and
reciprocity. These ideas are not incongruent with the seminal institutional work
that proffered the notion that institutions are typically self-directing and self-
perpetuating in that they choose both their values and priorities as well as the
social structures (and personnel) to support them (Barnard, 1938; Selznick, 1957).
This proposal is also partly based on the idea that governance is the
primary responsibility of the governors but that the governors take their power

ultimately from a sovereign community of free and equal citizens (Wolin, 1981).
To create legitimate democratic institutions, March and Olsen envision a process
built upon structures that manage voluntary political exchange between citizens.
They further envision an institutional structure (that they call developmental)
that emphasizes the role of governance in political culture of beliefs and shared
purposes. (March and Olson, 1995, p. 242). This idea strongly correlates with
Barber (1984) and consists of the idea that ease of participation leads to active
citizenship and more self-governance that will therefore enhance legitimacy
(Barber, 1984).
These ideas are not strictly theory as they have been put into practice by
both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. Both
agencies have mandated the use of citizen participation as part of their processes
for the remediation of environmental hazards (Guttman and Thompson, 1996;
Press, 1994). It is this linkage between inclusive institutions and their processes
and the enhancement of trust and legitimacy that this dissertation specifically
Democratization and legitimization were not obvious by-products of the
re-inventing government ideology and the battle cry of de-evolution that echoed
from the conservative administrations of the 1980s. While more local control and
a downsized federal government were touted as the cornerstones to a more
legitimate government, the federal government actually grew during the decade.
The symbolism of local control, however, remains a potent political rallying

point. It was supposed to make government less cumbersome and more
responsive by emphasizing a customer service-oriented bureaucracy that
promoted privatization and more local control (Osborne and Gaebler, 1992).
Building on the concept of more local control and extending the theories
put forward by March and Olson, Richard C. Box in Citizen Governance (1998)
has proposed a daring reform scheme for local governments that he asserts is both
more democratic and may increase perceptions of legitimacy. Borrowing from
late 18th century political practice, Box suggests the formation of citizen councils
that would oversee and deliberate community issues as a governing body in
tandem with local government officials. Box envisions then the cadre of elected
representatives and administrators as a more ancillary coordinating committee
that would provide technical information (one would imagine funding and
budgeting services) and oversee and facilitate the citizen committees deliberation
process (1998).
This two-pronged reformation that consists of bringing more autonomy to
state and local government combined with elevating the status of public
professionals (bureaucrats) to an equal standing with legislators and citizens in the
formation of public policy has been recommended to democratize and legitimize
public administration (Osborne and Gaebler, 1992). This re-invention has,
however, regurgitated the ever-present paradox in public administration history,
pitting government efficiency against responsiveness:

The tension between democracy and bureaucracy has bedeviled
public administration. However one defines democracy, its core
demand for responsiveness (to higher political authorities, the
public, client groups, or whatever the presumed agent of
democratic rule) does not neatly square with notions of effective
organization of the policy process and efficient delivery of goods
and services, which are central to the definition of bureaucracy.
Responsiveness need not guarantee efficiency, while bureaucratic
effectiveness and efficiency often belie democratic control (Burke,
1997, p. 1,018)
This paradox then necessarily leads to the question of what exactly is
meant by the term legitimacy (Warren, 1993), as a responsive but inefficient and
powerless administration could hardly inspire public confidence:
Though there is confusion about what is meant by legitimacy, a
legitimized public administration would seem to be one that is
respected by the public, has more control, authority, and discretion
to act independently than at present, and is given the status of a
somewhat equal partner in relation to elected leaders and other
parts of government (Box, 1998, p. 147)
The politics-administration dichotomy which suggested that neutral
competence is not in the bureaucratic interest (Goodnow, 1900) has been debated
as legitimacy issues and the ever-present inquiry into the appropriate role of
administration and the administrator (Viroli, 1992) has expanded. Examining the
controversy from an individual, as opposed to an institutional, view may yield
important clues (Ostrom, 1993). While the proper role definition of the public
administrator should be morally and ethically defined, the question arises as to
what values should dictate these roles and to what degree do these values conflict
with a more normative constitutional and bureaucratic procedural definition of
responsible administration. That is, what is the appropriate role of the

administrator in the scope of tension between bureaucracy and democracy?
(Burke, 1997). The role of the administrator, however, may not be so easy to
define in simple moral, ethical or idealistic terms. It may be that the legitimate
role is based in a constitutionally interpretive approach blended with a moral and
ethical grounding. An alternative view posits that instead of, or perhaps as well as,
elevating the status of bureaucracy to the level of politicians, the once-rejected
politics/administration dichotomy should be re-examined with an eye towards
separation (Viroli, 1992). The suggestion here is that the bureaucratic/
administrative aspect of the equation gets short shrift in the public perspective
based on an undeserved reputation for inefficiency and corruption. Reviews of
administrative performance have, contrary to the public perception, historically
found that compared to other industrialized bureaucracies, the United States
bureaucracies appear to be smaller and more efficient (Rose, 1985) and by some
standards, exceptional in their performance (Goodsell, 1994; Hill, 1992).
The question of statism is also relevant to the debate over the appropriate
mix of citizen influence in the public sphere as it relates to legitimacy (Stillman,
1996). The democratic theory literature in the policy sciences roughly
corresponds, both chronologically and ideologically, with the literature of the
new public administration school. Other notable movements that grappled with
the idea of legitimacy as it related to public administration are prominent in the
literature. Emerging from the Minnowbrook Conference of 1968, this counter
culture of (then) young theorists called for a new philosophical base for public

administration. This group of authors significantly influenced theory in the late
1960s and early 1970s with an ideological bent reflecting a distaste for hierarchy
while espousing the virtues of participation, consensus-building, communal trust
and the unencumbered discourse that promotes idea sharing (Marini, 1971;
Ostrom, 1989).
At the same time, business as usual public administration was being
criticized by a more conservative group of theorists that advocated less
government and more market orientation in the delivery of public goods and
services. Theorists like Aaron Wildavsky (1997) and James Q. Wilson (1989)
have argued that more competition would mean less bureaucracy and more
responsive government. Specific proposals to de-monopolize government
included privatization and the use of vouchers (Savas, 1982; Osborne and
Gaebler, 1992).
A variation on this revision theme appeared in the early 1980s under the
ideological umbrella of the re-founding movement. This approach to
administrative theory advocated the inclusion of a more normative orientation and
espoused the view that the concepts of citizenship needed to be revitalized
(Wamsely et al., 1990). The variety of thought and prescription demonstrates the
difficulty in fine tuning and balancing values such as efficiency, economy, the
inclusion of citizen values and the maintenance of high ethical standards for
public service.

Possibly the most influential reform theory of the 1990s was the re-
invention movement that extolled entrepreneurial schemes for minimizing
government and bureaucracy, making it customer friendly (Osborne and Gaebler,
1992). While a noble attempt at balancing the public choice dictum of the
Republican party led the 1980s and the big government philosophies of earlier
great state (big government) approaches, it fell short of a coherent prescription
for responsive and efficient government, perhaps by neglecting inclusion. This
re-invention philosophy was the basis for Vice President A1 Gores (1993)
National Performance Review that considered one of its goals to be closing the
trust deficit (Stillman, 1996). Unfortunately, these prescriptions were
apparently more style than substance and (to a great degree) unrealistic in the
sense that they understated important differences between government and the
private sector (Stillman, 1996; Kettl, 1993). More recent literature has
demonstrated the lack of an effective fix for the trust/legitimacy problem and
decried the business efficiency perspective as having a detrimental effect and, in
fact, recommended that the emphasis should now be on more participatory and
inclusive philosophies and methods (Gregory, 1999; L. deLeon and Denhardt,
Because cynicism is extensive in attitudes toward government, a theory of
cynicism is necessary to alleviate citizens distrust of government (Berman 1997)
and therefore to revitalize citizenship. Vice President Gore, responding to this
issue, noted, Cynicism increases social distance and diminishes the public spirit

(1994). At the heart of the matter, there is a basic conflict in public
administration that pits the political imperative of accountability against the
managerial imperatives of flexibility and responsiveness (Ruscio, 1997). The
conflict between these competing concerns contributes to a view of government
as bureaucratic, unresponsive and inefficient, thereby undermining the legitimacy
that is the basis for public administration (Stillman, 1996). Methods to increase
communication, that is, decrease distance and restore equity as proposed by more
participatory democracy may be the most efficient method for restoring
legitimacy to public administration (Kramer and Tyler, 1996). Suspicion of
governing individuals and institutions is inherent in our political heritage and
common to both the Jeffersonian and Madisonian concepts of democracy
(Morone, 1990). Americans have always been wary of control of government by
elites, whether they are elites of money and power or of professional training
(Box, 1998, p. 18). The omnipresent antidote for that suspicion is the widely held
and much prescribed concept of citizen participation in governance, usually at
local levels.
The review of the literature pertaining to public administrations concern
with increased participation and consequently with increased public perceptions
of legitimacy, is varied and has fairly deep historic roots. The literature
approaches the issue from philosophical perspectives ranging from rational
economic theories to deconstructionist revisions of popular Jeffersonian
democracy, advocating smaller and more directly accessed bureaucracies. Both

the economic theories of collective action and institutional behavior and the
smaller government philosophies may be said to have resulted in (or at least
support) the creation of small citizen groups or institutions that might influence
both local and national decision making by way of civic participation in
stakeholder settings and therefore increase legitimacy.
Critical and Post-Empirical Theories of
Political Communication and Democratic Participation
The introductory chapter of this thesis addressed the concept that the
participatory aspect of democratic functioning has support in a number of
academic fields beyond public administration and political science. Theorists
writing in the disciplines of political and social philosophy, sociology,
communications and psychology have addressed political theory generally and the
participatory aspects of democracy specifically.
Often cited in the literature of public participation are references to critical
theory and its adherents. Critical theory was developed in Frankfurt, Germany, in
the 1930s by Marcuse, Adorno and Horkheimer among others and expanded upon
by Jurgen Habermas. This section also incorporates the writings of theorists that
are not themselves part of the Frankfurt school of critical theory but have taken
part in the discussion started by those political philosophers and sociologists.
A critical theory is generally understood to be a contributing theoretical
base to modem feminist theory, post-structuralism and post-modernism, and
integral to understanding a number of modem social phenomena, including the

abuse of scientific and technological expertise, prejudice, discrimination and the
loss of public discourse (Agger, 1991). These would seem to address specifically
the frequent criticism of public participation as a viable method of creating public
policy based on the often-cited logic that expert analysis is needed to make
rational policy choices (Heilbroner, 1992; Ophuls, 1992; Hardin, 1972). Critical
theory is nested in the theories and ideas of both Marxism and Freudian
Critical theories have special standing as guides for human action
in that: They are aimed at producing enlightenment in the agents
who hold them, i.e. at enabling those agents to determine what
their true interests are; They are inherently emancipatory, i.e. they
free agents from a kind of coercion which is at least partly self-
imposed, from self-frustration of conscious human action. Critical
theories have cognitive content, i.e. they are forms of knowledge.
Critical theories differ epistemologically in essential ways from
theories in the natural sciences. Theories in natural science are
objectifying; critical theories are reflective (Guess, 1981, p. 2)
This reflective aspect and lack of dependence on empiricism join critical
theory to the post-positivist theories of public participation. Furthermore,
positivism has been viewed by the Frankfurt school theorists as an obstacle to a
unifying critical theory (Guess, 1981; Dryzek, 1990). The questions regarding
knowledge, discourse and politics in contemporary life change with social
conditions and therefore, according to the post-positivists, do not lend themselves
directly to empiricism (Agger, 1991).
Critical theory addresses the facets of communication between individuals
and between structures of either power or hierarchy through a lens of democratic

functioning and citizenship. It is critical of the manipulation of both language and
avenues of communication by elites attempting to influence social, political and
economic outcomes. Critical theory envisions a true democracy as one responsive
to the preferences of all citizens, ideally having equal standing, and promotes the
communicative interactions and unfettered dialogue that are seen as stimulating
the discovery of enlightened and considered choices. This model has been
frequently criticized with the simple idea that power naturally abounds in all
relationships between communicants as a matter of basic human interaction and,
therefore, the preferences of the elite are given undue influence and are generally
exercised (Foucault, 1998; Lindblom, 1990).
While an exhaustive study of critical theory and theorists would certainly
reveal differences, points of departure and diverging philosophical trails, this
review is meant only to examine the ideas relevant to political participation and
citizen communication-aided democratic theory. Primary to the question of a
more discursive, communication-aided democracy are the writings associated
with the concept of stakeholder groups and collaborative decision making as they
relate to the broader topic of the democratic process.
The most fundamental concepts are those critical of the hierarchical
societal functioning that stems from the instrumental rationality and objectivism
that have come to be accepted as the basis for governing in western liberal
democracy (Agger, 1992; Habermas, 1984, 1987; Dryzek, 1990; Sandel, 1996).
Instrumental rationality refers to the established processes in which, generally,

social and political discussions around rule making are bounded and framed by
historically accepted ideas that typically reinforce the status quo. These ideas
are maintained by elites in the social, economic and political systems through a
societal structure that allows them to exercise both preferences and biases to
reinforce the historical order (Lindblom, 1990). Both the means and ends of
policy decisions are selected from a rational, (arguably) repressive and limited
stock of options. Currently (and concurrently), it has been stated that a
technological elitism has overwhelmed public dialogue (Agger, 1991; Fischer,
This social and political heritage springs from the western enlightenment
tradition of Modernity. Modernity is an epoch of progress spurred by the
emergence of democratic institutions and by the application of scientific
knowledge and reason to human affairs resulting in many of the scientific and
social achievements leading to (arguably) a better world and higher standard of
living (Healy, 1993). This productive force of reason has not been completely
democratic in its evolution to contemporary times and politics;
German critical theorists and French deconstructionists elaborated
ideas which challenged reasons dominance of human affairs.
Reason, understood as logic coupled with scientifically constructed
empirical knowledge, was unveiled as having achieved hegemonic
power over other ways of being and knowing, crowding out moral
and aesthetic discourses. Further, rationalizing power fomented
the very institutions set up in the name of democratic action, the
bureaucratic agencies of the state. Evidence for this seemed to be
everywhere, from the disaster of high-rise towers for the poor to
the dominance of economic criteria justifying road building and
the functional categorization of activity zones, which worked for

large industrial companies and those working in them, but not for
women (with their necessarily complex lifestyles), the elderly and
the disabled, and the many ethnic groups forced to discover ways
of surviving on the edge of established economic practices (Healy,
1993, p.234)
Objectivism is the idea that the standards for selecting and creating these
(political) options are apparent, universal and for practical matters, beyond further
critical thought (Dryzek, 1990). These concepts are the central organizing
principles of bureaucracy and political hierarchy (Weber, 1968). This hierarchical
order has been denigrated by critical theorists for providing a stifling environment
in which individual social functioning is impeded and the concept of community
is overwhelmed (Habermas, 1975).
Cultural anthropologist, Laura Nader, somewhat reiterates the case made
by Habermas and modem feminists in claiming, in her study of alternative dispute
resolution (ADR), that the very language used in those proceedings is a tool used
to pacify dissenters. She writes:
When Chief Justice Warren Burger mentioned healing as more
civilized behavior than contentiousness, he was, probably
unwittingly, reiterating a European imperialist tradition that used a
hierarchy of manners and public gesture to domesticate the
subordinated and to insure the absence of contestation in the
colonies. Burgers phrases might appear trivial at first, but
socializing people to silence by means of culture is rarely trivial,
especially in a democracy constructed around ideas of free, open,
and untrammeled debate. The manner in which ADR exploded
onto the national scene, and the rhetoric by which Justice Burger
promoted ADR, was seductive. Who could be against harmony or
civilized behavior or healing or efficiency? The appeal was to a
broad audience, and many, especially women, were attracted to the
soft or gentle aspects of an informal justice (1993, p.10).

While instrumental rationality is not without some benefits in helping to
provide for social order and the progression of technological advances (deLeon,
1998), it also has the capacity to suppress freedom (Horkheimer and Adorno,
1972). This rational social order has been theorized to be less amenable to
true democracy than a more open society in which critical thought is tolerated
and encouraged, providing for a constant re-examination of processes and values
(Popper, 1966). The concept of communicative rationality is thus seen as an
alternative to instrumental rationality and consists of the idea that significant
interaction is necessarily predicated upon uncoerced and unfettered
communication between capable human beings (Habermas, 1984, 1987). It is
upon this idea of communicative rationality that the idea of a more
communication-based or discursive democracy rests (Dryzek, 1990). This ideal
and model has also come under frequent criticism as utopian or idealistic:
Habermass approach remains strongly normative and procedural,
paying scant attention to the preconditions of actual discourse, to
substantive ethical values and to the problem of how
communicative rationality gets a foothold in society in the face of
massive non-communicative forces (Flyvbjerg, 1998)
A critical theory of democracy is alternately called discursive,
deliberative, communicative or participatory or strong democracy (Barber,
1984). In public administration and public policy, critical theorists are typically
identified as post-positivist, interpretist and neo-Marxist. These scholars have
generally been critical of the policy sciences over-reliance on empiricism,
systems approaches and technological methods for advancing public policy,

arguing that these methods impede public participation and increase alienation
and distrust (Schneider and Ingram, 1997).
While not considered a critical theorist, Karl Popper has made significant
contributions to the analytic philosophy of science. Seeking a unifying theory of
the sciences, Popper attempted to connect political theory with his philosophy of
science. He argued that rational discussion and the free exchange of ideas were
critical in any attempt to discover truth. He wrote that although we cannot know
truth, the quest for understanding is imperative. His comparison of the natural
sciences with political theory have been frequently commented upon:
Rational discussion is central both to the open society and to
science. In both cases, the purpose of rational discussion is to
criticize and refute. In the open society discussion focuses on
government policy, and its purpose is to refute the government,
persuade people to vote it out of office and put in a new one.
Democracy is defined as a system in which governments are
removed by discussion rather than by violence. In science,
discussion focuses on a theory, and its purpose is to defend or
refute the theory and work out a new one. There are two conditions
for rational discussion, readiness and variety of opinion. Variety
provided the content for discussion; the more that people disagree,
the more easily they can refute each others ideas and set up the
problems that can lead to better ideas (Diesing, 1991, pp. 34-35)
Poppers opinion then seems to be that for social and political progress to
occur most efficiently, open discussion, conflict and the free exchange of ideas
are necessary in a political or policy context.
Continuing the discussion of communication and its relationship to open
society, rule-making and democracy, Deetz (1992) and Barber (1984) surmise that
democracy can be divided into basic types, each displaying unique characteristics

of how power and communication leading to political decisions is disseminated
and become influential. These are:
Authoritative Democracy, in which conflict is resolved by deferring to a
representative executive elite that employs authority (power plus wisdom) in
pursuit of the aggregate interests of its electoral constituency.
Juridical Democracy, in which conflict is resolved through deferring to a
representative juridical elite that, with the guidance of constitutional norms,
arbitrates differences and enforces constitutional rights and duties.
Pluralist Democracy, in which conflict is resolved through bargaining
and exchange among free and equal individuals and groups, which pursue their
private interests in a market setting governed by the social contract.
Unitary Democracy, in which conflict is resolved through community
consensus as defined by the identification of individuals and their interests with a
symbolic collectivity and its interests.
Strong Democracy, in which conflict is resolved through a participatory
process of ongoing, proximate self-legislation and the creation of a political
community capable of transforming dependent private individuals into free
citizens and partial and private interests into public goods (Deetz, 1992, p. 150-
Deetz goes on to classify the typologies into two categories based on the
social, ethical and value priorities of the communication theory characteristic to
each model. He groups the authoritative, juridical and pluralist models together

as those whose communication strategy is driven by effectiveness and he
groups both strong and unitary democracy types as those dependent on a theory of
communication that is concerned with participation (1992, p. 151).
Elaborating on that theme, Habermas has exhaustively written on the
communicative aspects of politics and society. Unlike many contemporary
democratic theorists, Habermas does not equate democracy with any particular set
of institutional mechanisms, such as voting, separation of powers or
representation. Rather, he understands democracy as any institutional order
whose legitimacy depends on collective will-formation through discourse. As
Warren observes, democracy is a question of finding arrangements which can
ground the basic presupposition that the basic institutions of the society and the
basic political decisions would meet with the unforced agreement of all those
involved, if they could participate, as free and equal, in discursive will-formation
(1993, p. 211).
Gadamer concurs with the view that genuine conversation is the way
that understanding occurs in social systems. Communication, he states, is more
than sharing ones experience or point of view, it is the art of the formation of
concepts as the working out of common meaning (1975, p. 331). He goes on to
say that communication is not the self-expression and the successful assertion of
ones point of view, but a transformation into communion, in which we do not
remain what we were (1975, p. 341). This social development of the citizen

through open communication and political participation is a frequent theme in the
democratic participation literature (Warren, 1993; Habermas, 1974).
Habermas notion of representative publicity (1989) directly addresses
the notion of government trust and legitimacy. Habermas differentiates between
his public spherea site governed neither by the intimacy of the family, the
authority of the state nor the exchange of the market, but by the public reason of
private citizensand the false spectacle of politics as delivered by campaign
propaganda, speeches and media (Peters, 1993, p. 542). Habermas, somewhat
cynically, describes these two options as what he sees as the current extreme
choices for the organization of public life events. He sees the manipulation of the
mass media as the mechanism by which political and social elites attempt to
shape the psychology of the masses.
Concurring with Habermas, Adorno also views mass communication as
the instrument of manipulation and as pre-empting critical face-to-face
communication (Peters, 1993). The exclusion inherent in the facade of
representative publicity and its necessarily exclusive nature has over time
created a mistrust on the part of the public sphere (Habermas, 1989). Ideals of
participatory democracy often go together with a distrust of aesthetic
representation; the two attitudes have an elective affinity (Peters, 1993, p. 562).
If this elective affinity or inverse relationship holds true, it would seem then, that
given more participation and less aesthetic representation, a philosophical case
can be made that trust and government legitimacy could increase.

In summary, the literature of the political sociologists and communication
theorists gives yet another perspective on the debate in which democracy is
supposed to flourish under circumstances of more direct and unfettered
communication avenues to the decisions that affect the lives of citizens. An anti-
elitist attitude seems prevalent in these often Marxist-based discourses. Power
structures and rational ideals are deconstructed and purported to be oppressive
and deadening to civic spirit suggesting that alternatives such as equal standing
for citizens and participation in political decisions should be available (and
encouraged) for re-invigorating that spirit and sustaining democratic functioning.
Social Capital and Trust
This dissertation attempts to specifically focus on one aspect of the
participatory democratic idea, that is, the concept of trust in both its civic and
social capacities. The central thesis here is that trust is a fundamental component
of social capital and that social capital is a necessary ingredient for the successful
functioning of a participatory democratic process and crucial to its capacity to
collectively solve problems (Coleman, 1990; Putnam, 1993a). This thesis posits
that a strong concept of community is positively correlated to successful
participation and therefore tends towards a strong or more participatory
democracy (Barber, 1984).
Social capital as a concept emerged in the classic literature of 19th century
French sociology and re-emerged in the 1970s as a concept referring to the

advantages and opportunities accruing to people through membership in certain
communities (Bourdieu, 1980). The most definitive contemporary work on the
subject defines social capital as the set of resources that inheres in family
relations, and in community social organization, integral to the cognitive or social
development of a child or young person (Coleman, 1988). While these resources
differ between persons and social settings, they can constitute an important
advantage for children and adolescents in the development of their human capital
(education, training, intellectual capacity) and potential (Loury and Loury, 1977;
1987; Flap and DeGraaf, 1986).
The notion of social capital came to be modified as an economic concept
used to describe the social resources useful in the development of physical capital
(money, tools or machines, etc.) and human capital (training and education).
Social capital, as an economic concept, defined in terms of a social organization,
has been examined as an institution influencing conditions under which economic
activity is organized (Williamson, 1975). Envisioned as a concept of social
organization, social capital is a basic idea in the body of work referred to as new
institutional economics and therefore often cited as a rationale for collective
action. Both Coleman (1990) and Fukayama (1995) describe the social
organizations necessary to the investment of human and physical capital as being
built by trust in the boundary of closed relationships (communities, families,
trades). The ideas expressed here go beyond the ethical assertions of the
communitarian philosophy and delve into the social psyche to explore the

proposition that civic history has much to do with the relative success or failure of
democracy. In particular, Putnam asserts that strong traditions of civic
association in a community or region may be positively correlated to that areas
socio-economic development and the continued history of civic group association
(Putnam, 1993a).
Further defined as the collective features of social organization
specifically trust, norms and networkssocial capital is therefore considered a
necessary civic resource. As part and parcel of that resource, the element of civic
trust is that necessary aspect that allows individuals to accept a common good and
work towards a common union and goal (Putnam, 1993a, 1993b, 2000). Without
the element of trust, there is only individual self-interest, and the idea of common
interest as demonstrated by collective action is thereby sacrificed (Fukayama,
1995). The gravity of these concepts as they relate to public policy and public
administration lies in the thesis that policy design implies certain social
constructions and therefore affects citizen participation patterns (Ingram and
Schneider, 1993; Schneider and Ingram, 1997).
Essential to the theories of social capital is the concept of trust and
therefore a precise definition of the specific ideas encompassed by the term
trust is necessary. Lofland and Lofland (1984) posit that the most fundamental
and ubiquitous aspect of a human social setting is that of meanings. These are the
linguistic categories that make up the participants view of reality and with which
they define their own and others actions (p. 71). To maintain research integrity,

the terms used in this dissertation share a common focus on the human-
constructed set of concepts that have been singled out as the important aspects of
the research. For instance, the term trust can easily be used in an ephemeral or
loosely interpreted manner. Trust in a spouse or family member is in many ways
different than trust in government. Often surveys have queried respondents as to
their trust in various institutions without describing what trust means in terms
of the research. The literature on social capital and trust has yielded several
definitions for these concepts and this dissertation borrows from those definitions.
This dissertation will primarily consider the term trust to entail a fiduciary
responsibility. Specifically, it is the conditions of competence and fairness that
are primarily understood as being integral to the term as it relates to the concept
of trust in government.
It is possible to use the word trust in writing or conversation without too
much confusion about its meaning. Colloquially, the word generally implies an
expectation. Looking closely at the word for the sake of research specificity,
however, it becomes apparent that different contexts, individuals and situations
lend the word a variety of meanings. The words synonyms provide an example
of its variety of form. Confidence is commonly used in research questions that
intend to get at trust in government. The question then becomes: is confidence
the same as trust? Other words commonly interchanged to describe trust are
belief, faith, reliance, dependence, assurance, certainty and security. These words
may each evoke different perceptions of the implied expectation.

The literature on trust has yielded several interpretations of what is
generally and specifically expected. In economic terms, trust is a public good
necessary for the success of economic transactions (Hirsch, 1978). In sociology,
it has been noted that trust is essential for stable human relationships (Blau,
1964). Also, trust has been defined as the method by which actors in social
relationships can cope with the uncertainty and vulnerability that exist in all
such relationships (Heimer, 1976). Philosophically speaking, trust is looked upon
as a social good, which, when destroyed, can cause societies to falter and
collapse (Bok, 1978). Finally, Talcott Parsons invokes trust as a consequence of
commitment that involves appeals to obligation in terms of basic norms and
values (1969). All of these interpretations of the word trust shore up its
importance to social capital quite well. They all hold the word to entail a concept
whose presence as an expectation is necessary, however generalized, between
agents in successful social systems and exchanges.
Sociologist Bernard Barber emerges with a definition that entails three
specific meanings. Generally, he defines trust as meaning the persistence and
fulfillment of the natural and moral social orders. As ancillary and more specific
means by which this persistence and fulfillment is carried out, he adds the
expectation of technically competent role performance from those involved with
us in social relationships and systems. Lastly, he specifies the word to mean the
expectation that partners in interaction will carry out their fiduciary obligations
and responsibilities, and that there is an implicit expectation that it is, their duty

in certain situations to place others interests before their own (Barber, 1983, p.
67). More specifically, he states:
The word trust embraces at least three different meanings, which
must be distinguished for adequate social description and
explanation. Moreover, the words often used as synonyms for trust
sometimes incorporate one or another of these three meanings
along with related concepts. As with other emotionally charged
words, such as love and duty, we are in a verbal and conceptual
morass (Barber, 1983, p. 70-71)
It is the concepts of technical competence and fiduciary responsibility and
ultimate fairness that the survey questions used in this thesis have been designed
to assess.
The link that this dissertation assumes is in considering the idea that civic
virtue, as typified by positive social capital, is a basic and necessary ingredient
for the efficacious functioning of a participatory process. It is further theorized
that an essential concept of the common good is possible only in an atmosphere in
which trust is prevalent. The order and priority of the concepts trust and
common good are proposed to be of equal importance and symbiotic, in that
they are mutually enhanced by the presence of the other. This research assumes
that trust is the necessary remedy for cynicism, based on Robert Mertons (1957)
claim that cynicism is the pervasive disbelief in the possibility of good when
dealing with others. Therefore, trust enhances legitimacy in the political
capacity. While trust and participation are typically linked and assumed to be
basic to the idea of social capital in much of the literature, the empirical evidence
linking the two is lacking, and there has in fact been some evidence that trust is

not a precursor to participation (Kohut, 1997). However, the extant research is
not definitive on either position.
This lack of empirical evidence is important to note in light of the recent
political, academic and social pre-occupation with social capital generally and
participation specifically. Often touted as a panacea for the troubling aspects of
societal intercourse, participation cannot be proven to be helpful nor can its
decline be universally accepted as an accomplished fact (Greeley, 1997; Ladd
1996) . Critics charge much confusion, generalization and failure to recognize the
subtleties and complexities of the theory of social capital and report that civic
culture is alive and well, if not flourishing, in America (Foley and Edwards,
1997) .
Other theorists have noted, however, that there are myriad varieties and
levels of participation replete with different types of interactions and resulting in
different effects upon both the participant and society (Newton, 1997). These
effects include the formation of thick trust, which is found in small
communities and generated by intensive face-to-face interaction, and thin trust,
found in looser, more amorphous, secondary relationships prevalent in modem
society (Newton, 1997).
Any examination of this loss in societys ability to collectively solve
problems must examine the issue of what sociologist Russell Hardin (1995) calls
identification. One of Hardins basic propositions is that identification with a
group is a condition for engaging in actions that further the common goal.

Identification means commitment or concern that a person has with the
interests of a particular group or concern to be included within the group. This
assumption raises two questions: How does group identification arise? And what
effects does group identification have on the successful attainment of group
Hardin argues that identification with a group arises from individual
interest. This is not to say that an individual simply chooses to identify with a
group. Instead, often various choices are made that finally lead to identification.
In developing this argument, Hardin notes that very often participation in group
conflicts benefits the individuals who participate. The benefits may be material,
such as getting a better job if the group succeeds, or more subtle, such as
participating in the pleasures of group life.
Much of the social capital research focuses on the second type of
participatory group, sometimes called checkbook participation (Minkoff, 1997;
Putnam, 1993a) for its emphasis on affiliation or symbolic attachment such as
American Association of Retired Persons or the Sierra Club membership, rather
than active participation. It is, however, the more intensive, face-to-face
community/political participation resulting in (or from) thick trust that this
research focuses upon. This research does not resolve the differing views on the
level and importance of participation in America. It speaks to only limited
aspects of the participation question, specifically, does participation in a face-to-
face, politically intensive, public policy forum contribute to the growth of trust in

government and in the social environment of the group itself?
The significance of this research lies in the idea that the relationship
between trust and participation spring naturally from the body of theory that
reports that the concept of community and the level of civic engagement, which
was once the cornerstone of democratic functioning in this country, are declining
precipitously (Berman, 1997; Bellah, Madsen et al., 1991; Fukayama, 1995;
Putnam, 1991, 1993b, 1995a, 1995b, 2000). The reasons for this decline are
generally concluded to be the over reliance on classical micro-economic theory
(and its off-shoots) in policy making, that have encouraged individuals to place
their personal utility maximization over their communitys welfare. This
orientation, combined with the liberal tendency to tend judicially towards
individual freedom in legislating laws, has resulted in a national mindset that
undervalues the community with a preference to the individual. The idea
expressed in these socio-political theses is essentially that social capital is the
ability of people to work together in groups and in civic associations toward a
common good and a common understanding of social norms and expectations
(Coleman, 1988). Furthermore, that association is a learned behavior and must
be fostered and nurtured by social and political systems and institutions
(Tocqueville, 1945 [1835]; Putnam, 1993a, 1995a, 2000; Mill, 1961 [1835];
Dewey, 1927).

In 1990, a political philosophy based on ethics, political theory, social
theories of human nature, as well as civic virtue as it relates to institutions and the
public sphere, was coalesced under the term communitarianism. A group of 15
ethicists, social philosophers and social scientists met in Washington, D.C. at the
invitation of Amitai Etzioni and William Galston. These theorists attempted to
construct a philosophy that might form a middle ground in the public debate
between political liberals and conservatives on issues such as abortion,
homosexuality and sexual tolerance, education, immigration and the death
penalty. Specifically, they sought ways to discuss these issues in community
forums in a manner that was not antagonistic to the spirit of community. What
emerged from that discussion was a feeling of dismay that most Americans are all
too eager to spell out what they were entitled to as rights, but all too slow to give
anything back to their communities (Etzioni, 1993). It was here that the
communitarian movement was founded and named. Today the
political/philosophical movement counts among its aspirants world leaders such
as Bill Clinton, Tony Blair (in the U.K.) and Jacques Delors (in France), as well
as American political and public policy shapers and theorists such as Bill Bradley,
Michael Sandel and Philip Selznick (Communitarianism, 1998).
The writers who labor under this hallmark argue that a more ethical
consideration for determining value in society is needed. Bom as a response to

the economic boom, the widening gaps between social classes and the general
disenfranchisement of the Reagan Era, these theorists propose that a community
revitalization and sense of place is imperati ve to the alleviation of the societal ills
of the modem era (Etzioni, 1988). These writers further argue that a
governmental ethic that falls between the perennial debate between pro-
government liberals and free-market conservatives is necessary to foster the
growth of responsive communities, sensitive to the needs of its members and
capable of sustaining discussion of the common good (Galston, 1996). More
significantly, perhaps, is the idea raised by communitarians that the spirit of
community resides with its members and that they, not government, are
responsible for its sustenance (Phillips, 1993). They espouse the idea that this
responsibility entails the communal work and vigilance of the individual
members, but caution (perhaps ironically) against over-zealous conformity,
religiosity and disrespect for autonomy (Etzioni, 1993).
Quite simply, the basis of communitarianism is to rethink liberalism and
individualism as the basis for rule making (Ostrom, 1993). It proposes broad
incorporation of participants in the rule-making process with responsive
institutions and community revitalization as its end result. Its primary question,
reiterating Plato, is how ought we to live? (Bellah, Madsen et al., 1991).
Communitarianism purports that Americans have too many rights and too
few responsibilities; it proposes an affirmation of shared values and does not
entail moralizing or majoritarianism (Etzioni, 1993). Communitarians maintain,

much as do the social capital proponents, that democracy requires a degree of
trust that we often take for granted, and they believe that, in the United States, we
have begun to lose trust in our institutions (Bellah, Madsen et al., 1991). They
hold that responsibility is comprised of two aspects. The first is trust and the
second is the scope of responsible action to which we are called (Niebuhr,
1978, p. 178).
The ethical ideas forwarded within the communitarian movement
maintain that narrow self-interest needs to be re-examined as the basis for social
engineering on one hand and personal fulfillment on the other. They espouse a
perspective that maintains that priorities larger than the self contribute to a more
balanced and fulfilling life. The challenge of communitarianism is to balance the
esteem for greater community well being, a non-controlling philosophy combined
with volunteerism, civic duty and discussion about the common good that avoids
unhealthy and intractable conflict, against a tendency toward an authoritarianism
that strictly enforces social order (Walzer, 1995).
This value orientation may be in response to an over-reliance on social
conformity and the fear of a terrifying national Zeitgeist like the one that overtook
Weimar Germany in the 1930s. This fear is well-grounded in that the balance
between a healthy community and a repressive social order requires constant
vigilance and re-evaluation (Etzioni, 1988). This stifling social order may be well
demonstrated by the lack of minority civil rights in the pre- 1960s United States, a

condition that remained unchanged for generations because of the lack of critical
social self-examination and reliance on outdated cultural mores.
The danger of misunderstanding communitarianism lies in the common
assumption that it is an attack on liberalism, which it is not. The philosophy does,
however, intend to instruct the need for re-examination and hyper-vigilance in the
constant evolution of societal needs and recommends a broader basis than just
liberalism for that evolution. Communitarian philosophy links volunteerism with
expanding democracy. Communitarians believe that community involvement
strengthens and promotes citizenship, which, in turn, reduces political alienation,
can reverse the decline in voting, and generally invigorates democracy (Ingram
and Smith, 1993),
Communitarianism has grown into an international movement with grass
roots organizing through worldwide networks, a presence on the World Wide
Web, a growing number of organizations sponsoring town hall meetings,
critical discussions of issues affecting communities and publications devoted to
community revitalization through active citizenship.
It is increasingly obvious that citizenship is crucial to the equation in
which participation engenders legitimacy. Craig Rimmermans The New
Citizenship (1997) examines the changing role of the citizen and the responsibility
inherent to that role. Rimmerman suggests that what appears to be declining civic
interest and waning trust in government is, in reality, the emergence of new non-
traditional forms of civic and political participation. Rimmerman is not alone in

the speculation that patterns of participation are changing (for the better?) and that
those patterns are misunderstood (also see Greeley, 1997; Minkoff, 1997).
Specifically, he states: It is indeed ironic that at the very moment that some
people lament the civic indifference associated with lower voter-turnout rated,
there seems to be an upsurge in American political activity other than voting
(1997, p. 4). However, these claims of alternative citizenship patterns are
debated. The evidence for the claims of bolstered new citizenship activity is
limited, unpersuasive and sometimes even scary (Thomas, 1999, p. 84).
Regardless of the evidence of whether there are non-traditional civic activities
gaining prominence in society, the idea that they should be, remains a vital one:
There may well be validity to the broader argument for a New
Citizenship in the sense of more participation in nontraditional
political and community activities. At least equally important, the
logic of contemporary governance suggests a need for growing
involvement of this kind. With many of the crucial decisions about
public programs now made in the course of implementing them,
and with the success for that implementation often contingent on
citizen acceptance, the goals of democratic governance and
effective public programs imply that citizens should become more
involved in implementing programs, rather that limit their attention
to electing policymakers and lobbying them (Thomas, 1999, p. 84)
While these claims of an emerging new citizenship may or may not be
true and its implications are yet unknown, an interesting idea for bolstering
citizenship does emerge. As with any theoretical strand that attempts to promote
a new paradigm, communitarians and responsible citizenship advocates have
suggested an educational component for incorporating their ideas. Specifically, in
this case is the notion of service learning courses at the university level. The

service learning idea appears to be gaining popularity (Hirsh, 1996). These
courses are seen as including critical self-examination on American democracy
for college students thinking about their duties as citizens and perhaps
incorporating internships in community or political activities (Thomas, 1999).
Again, the literature from yet another philosophic track incorporates the
idea of citizen participation as integral to public administration and public policy
making. The positive influence of citizenship-oriented activities, civic association
and political participation as a cornerstone of democratic functioning, is a much-
discussed political topic (as repeatedly demonstrated by this literature review
from a variety of perspectives). The relative health of civic volunteerism and
community regard, as well as the effects of an active citizenship and political
participation on democratic functioning in America, has been debated on one side
by theorists and writers that believe both are waning, and on the other side by
those who hold that the relative importance of both to civil society are overstated
(Berman, 1997).
The problem, of course, with communitarianism, is that it is a philosophy
and as such can only be disseminated to willing, interested individuals as an
intellectual exercise. Service learning courses incorporating public service
volunteerism are not typically mandated and therefore are taken only by young
people open to such philosophical and civic-minded pursuits. There is no
enforceable or established component in communities for the communitarian
ideology, so it remains only that, an ideology. Furthermore, the parameters are

vague and to a great degree, still emerging. While this philosophy is gaining
some political momentum, it is not a potent social force and lacks, at this point,
the substance to evolve into a component of American social order.
Critiques of Participation in Public Policy Making
In addition to the numerous advocates of incorporating greater public
participation into the policy making process, there are also those who argue
cogently against it. Much of the formative debate on the ideal form of democracy
has centered around the idea of electoral representation and the amount of citizen
input it should require.
Beginning as far back as the debates over the U. S. Constitution, James
Madisons Federalist #10 addressed the issue of the peoples self-representation,
which has also been referred to as Jeffersonian or pure democracy. The 10th
Federal Paper is a logical and articulate thesis in which Madison constructs a case
for a central and representative government, one standing in clear distinction to
self-representation. He promotes representative government as one composed of
a chosen [elected] body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true
interest and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it
to temporary or partial considerations (Madison, 1961, p.82). Madisons
Federalist perspective was shaped by his knowledge of history and specifically his
study of previous governmental systems that had failed, in large part due to their
inability to secure the rights of all citizens, not just the majority. He held that men

should not be both judges and parties at the same time, meaning that self-
interest would prevail in cases where people could adjudicate in their own behalf
(Madison, 1961, p. 80). Madison foresaw the very real possibility that the
prevalence of self-interested factions could (would?) result in a situation where
the best interest of the group or society might be sacrificed.
Madisons Federalist vision held sway at the 1787 Constitutional
Convention. The Constitutional Convention was convened after what is generally
described as a tumultuous decade under the Articles of Confederation, with the
understanding that a new vision of a workable government was needed (Rackove,
1996). The Constitution called for an intermediary element, a representative
scheme that would restore order and help the country to persevere. According to
James A. Morone:
Madison articulated the new theory most clearly. However, a close
reading exposes his uneasiness about its implications; he
repeatedly appended qualification to the filtration idea. When he
introduced the argument in Philadelphia, he cautioned that it
might be pushed too far. The most celebrated exposition, in
Federalist 10, is studded with the same caveat: the effect may be
inverted; inconveniences will be found on both sides.
Madisons temporizing is a harbinger of the political split that
would rend the Federalists almost as soon as the Constitution was
ratified (1990, p.64)
Madisons uneasiness reflects the tension inherent in the fact that the
question of best representation remains largely unresolved. Today, the issue is
raised regularly in complaints by citizens that elected leaders are out of touch
(Kohut, 1997).

Alexis de Tocqueville, with the publication of the first part of Democracy
in America in 1835, departed from the political philosophers of the 18th and 19th
century by examining social conditions as the basis for action as opposed to the
human condition or human nature (Zetterbaum, 1963). It may be said that he
was the first political sociologist, thinking and writing about American democracy
with an institutional perspective. Tocqueville held that the increasingly
democratic state with its inherent freedom, was the natural end to mans political
progress. That supposition has been recently reiterated (Fukayama, 1992).
Tocqueville considered the idea that more freedom spelled the end of tyranny but
at the same time harbored a suspicion that democracy left unchecked could result
in a tyranny never before experienced, that being the possibility of tyranny by
citizen against citizen (Zetterbaum, 1963).
Tocqueville is generally cited for his enthusiasm about Americas many
civic associations and their ability to enhance citizens political and social
functioning. He commented that these associations could counter the deleterious
effects that an increasingly centralized government might have on individual
liberty. However, he argued that the freedom already granted to citizens in a
representative system of government (that allows for unchecked self-interest) was
not without its negative aspects (Heffner, 1956). An aristocrat at heart, he
believed that mediocrity was the best that could be expected from a majority rule,
a consequence that would only increase with a pure democracy. He writes,
The power of the majority is so absolute and irresistible that one must give up

ones rights as a citizen and almost abjure ones qualities as a man if one intends
to stray from the track which it prescribes (Tocqueville, 1956, p. 119). As a
consequence, Tocqueville pre-supposed the influence of expert and educated
leaders in the field of law, both attorneys and judges, to counterbalance the effects
of the majority rule as American democracys ultimate destiny (Zetterbaum,
Political philosopher John Stuart Mill, acting out of his utilitarian beliefs,
wrote the treatise On Liberty in England in 1859. In it, Mill observed that one of
the central tenets is that the highest development of individuals rests on an
advanced civilization, which is only possible in a large state. Popular government
is only possible in small states. The closest approximation to popular government
which is feasible in large states is representative government, i.e. representative
democracy (Magid, 1963, p. 793). Mill based this idea on the premise that social
progress is best attained by a professional government and that an uncontrolled
democracy can be just as tyrannical as absolute monarchy. Mill further stated
that citizens were not sufficiently enlightened to select those that should actually
govern. The functions of government, executive, legislative and judicial, are
highly skilled activities which require experienced, well trained individuals whom
the populace is not qualified to select (Mill, 1951, p. 115). Thus, Magid (1963,
p. 793) has contended that Mill argued for a government by experts.
Still, it must be said that one of Mills tests of good government is the
extent to which the virtue and intelligence of the people themselves are

promoted. The other is the extent to which the machinery of government takes
advantage of the good qualities of the populace (Magid, 1963, p. 797). A case
can be made then, based on this second test, that Mill proposed the incorporation
of these good qualities of the populace, i.e. intelligence, virtue, education and
practical experience, into the rule-making and solution-producing machinery of
government, is a function of good government.
Theory promoting a strong, expert government moved easily into the 20th
century as government expanded progressively and the problems needing
attention in American society increased. According to deLeon (1997):
The generic debate over who governs is not a new one in American
politics. One of the most noted divisions over citizen versus elite
democracy and who should rule was earlier this [last] century,
with Walter Lippmann publicly squaring off with John Dewey
over the comparative merits of who should govern, the educated
elites (Lippmann) or the people (Dewey). Lippmann, in Public
Opinion (1922) and The Phantom Public (1925), claimed that the
publics stake in governing themselves was more procedural than
substantive, that the frontiers omnipotent citizen was
yesteryears (yesterdays?) anachronism, and that questions of vital
public importance had to be decided by experts with valid
information as opposed to the more visceral symbols that usually
defined popular debates. In Lippmanns mind, the quality of
information assuredly outweighed quantity (1997, p. 102).
Walter Lippman echoed Mills sentiments throughout his long political
editorial career, as well as in his prolific oratories and editorials. In a 1947
address delivered at the unveiling of a statue of George Washington in a cathedral
in the city named for the first President, Lippman delivered his views regarding
George Washingtons perspective on popular government:

[George Washington] Though he was an ardent supporter of the
new Constitution, he did not believe that any mechanical device,
such as the system of checks and balances, would in itself insure
freedom and good government. Least of all did he believe that bad
government could be cured by weak government. He had learned
from his own hard experience that popular government tends to be
weak, and that local and private interests may so divide its
authority and may so paralyze its decisions that the time may come
when there seems to be no remedy for anarchy except that
surrender of freedom to a despot. He knew that in the last analysis
there was nothing which could save a nation from this choice
between anarchy and tyranny except the restraint imposed by the
virtue of its citizens and the wisdom of those leaders whom they
are sufficiently enlightened to follow (1963, p. 5)
Lippman criticized the almost biblical belief that in the majority,
sovereignty should naturally reign supreme. He held the notion of a higher law,
which he surmised:
...has been gradually revealed to the awakening conscience of
mankind. In this, the American doctrine, the will of the people
does not, then, determine its own standard of what is right and
what is wrong. It is itself accountable to standards superior to its
own opinions and its own will. The people, like all other rulers, are
within the moral order, and they are subject to it (1963, p. 6)
Specifically, any advocacy of the public as an equal participant in debates
that are becoming increasingly technical, has been challenged as unworkable.
This participatory scheme has been said to lead to administrative delays,
excessive constraints based on short-sighted goals, and, ultimately, to dangerous
social control over scientific inquiry (Nelkin, 1984, p. 29).
In revisiting his classic work, Ecology and the Politics of Scarcity (1992),
William Ophuls restates his assertion that only technically competent individuals
who are willing to make hard choices, in which there will undoubtedly be

economic losers, should be in positions of leadership for environmental decisions.
He does not believe that even the most altruistic citizens are capable of adequately
understanding technology, nor are they equipped to make decisions affecting the
long term with any legitimacy. Ophuls cites Robert Dahl, saying that in a
political association whose members differ crucially in their competence, such as
a hospital or a passenger ship, a reasonable man will want the most competent
people to have authority over the matters on which they are most proficient
(Dahl, 1970, p. 58). Ophuls states that even for experts, the technical decisions
are difficult. He contends that for someone who is not specifically trained and
does not spend the bulk of his or her time exploring the specific technical issues
under consideration, enlightened decision making is next to impossible. He states
that experts typically come out on all sides of any given technical issue and that
has the effect of further confusing the average citizen (Ophuls, 1992). His
suggested remedy takes from Platos Republic, the idea of an elite class of
Philosopher Kings, in this case a priesthood of responsible technicians, which
borrows both from Dahl and Plato, the idea of an expert crew sailing the ship of
state through dangerous waters. Ophuls essentially advocates extreme measures
for extreme ecological circumstances.
Economist Robert L. Heilbroner (1991) plots a similar case. He also
presses the desperate times, desperate measures argument in suggesting that
impending ecological crises will logically eventuate a more authoritarian
government. He writes:

Finally, and with great reluctance, I must advance one last
implication of my argument. It is customary to recognize, but to
deplore, the authoritarian tendencies within civil society, especially
on the part of those who, like myself, are the beneficiaries of the
freedoms of minimal authority-ridden rule. Yet, candor compels
me to suggest that the passage through the gauntlet ahead may be
possible only under governments capable of rallying obedience far
more effectively than would be possible in a democratic setting. If
the issue for mankind is survival, such governments may be
unavoidable, even necessary. What our speculative analysis
provides is not apologia for these governments, but a basis for
understanding the critical support that they may be able to provide
for a people who will need, over and above a solution to their
difficulties, a mitigation of their existential anxieties (Heilbroner,
1992, p. 134)
Quoting Hegel (1977) in stating that Freedom is the recognition of
necessity, Garrett Hardin concurs with the need for an authoritarian scheme in
governing the commons. In addressing the ecological hazard of
overpopulation, he argues that the only real freedom stems from mutual
coercion or the insistence of the state to limit human reproduction (Hardin,
1977). He comes to this conclusion after an examination of a more democratic
method that failed to recognize and address the problem of (even enlightened)
societal self-interest in the matter of population control. The United Nations
population protocol (1971) in fact, exacerbated the population control problem by
failing to address or promote clear boundaries or rules when it affirmed
reproduction as a basic human right and deferred the issue of family size to each
individual breeding unit (couple).
In The Democratic Wish (1990), James Morone thoughtfully illustrates the
romance the American people have historically had with direct democracy. He

demonstrates through example how the mostly symbolic will of the people (when
backed by favorable economic and social conditions) has been a potent agent for
grand policy design and social revision. Morone further demonstrates how the
movement of a people united for change has generally deteriorated into the
expansion of government influence through the creation of new bureaucracies.
These new bureaucracies have been left to adjudicate policy and program
resources between the competing factions that were once the people united for
Morone explains this participatory ideal or democratic wish as a by-
product of the suspicion of government inherent to both the Madisonian and
Jeffersonian concepts of democracy. He notes that the explanation for this
contradiction stems from a suspicion of government power that is innate in both
the ideologies of popular participation as well as in that of the liberal democratic
concept of the countrys founders, that favored a representative scheme yet
created the checks and balances to restrain government power. This suspicion is
combined with the recognition that the enduring will of the people to carry out
and maintain these social revisions is extremely difficult to maintain. Typically,
personal involvement wanes in the follow-through portion of implementation due
both to time and resource constraints on participants leading to diminishing
returns over time and to the often intractable disagreement over the policy details.
Furthermore, Morone (1990) reasons that extended popular participation depends
on consensus, and real consensus being a romantic myth that founders under the

weight of factionalism (Madison, 1961) and the waning commitment of personal
time and resources in a modern participants busy schedule.
Another perspective on the difficulty (and some might argue the
unworkability) of volunteer citizens participating in public policy decisions is that
of government workers, bureaucrats and public managers. Rarely, if ever, do
citizen stakeholder groups not involve public agencies and public servants. The
hard reality that dictates the fact that stakeholders have only limited time to
devote to extended methods of political discourse is not unique to voluntary
participants. Personal costs are also incurred by public servants mandated (often
unfunded mandates) to work in participatory modes; often participatory forums
result in increased and complicated workloads for workers in government
agencies. They can also create for government workers the stress of being the
bad guy in what is often a difficult and frustrating ordeal on already overworked
public servants:
As a district ranger explained, We get our credibility challenged,
our professional ability challenged, and sometimes our right to
exist challenged. So its no fun. Direct involvement in
negotiations can exact a toll on agency officials, a price not shared
equally by officials at all levels of the organization. Top-level
officials may be protected from the emotional reality of conflict;
however, local officials know its often wrenching effects
(Manring, 1998, p.282)
Although their role is essential in any plan for integrating public participation
in public decisions, the public servant has often been less than enthusiastic. It has
been suggested that the risk of failure has often persuaded public servants to

avoid or minimize public involvement (Thomas, 1995). It has been further
suggested that state and local officials are often less than enthusiastic about
creating and overseeing federally mandated participation because it is generally
seen as sabotaging the local control that local officials have historically
maintained (Thomas, 1995). With this thought in mind, the effect of poorly
trained technocrats or disenchanted public officials participating in, and even
overseeing, participatory forums becomes an issue when we consider that:
In spite of the proven accomplishments of citizen groups in some
policy areas, there is a growing body of data to support the
contention that public participation which is automatic,
unrestrained, or ill-considered can be dangerously dysfunctional to
political and administrative systems... To the extent that we permit
non-governmental groups, publicly oriented or private, to have a
decisive voice in determining public policy, we add to the crisis of
legitimacy and authority affecting all of our political institutions
(Cupps, 1977, p.478 )
From the administrative perspective, it has been posed that what is needed
in public administration is more bureaucracy and less democracy. Kenneth Meier
(1997) returns to the dicta of Woodrow Wilson when he writes that bureaucracy
needs to distance itself from the political (electoral) component of public
administration. His main thesis seems to be that professional competency and
hyper-responsiveness to sometimes inconsistent demands are often in tension,
and that a certain rigidity is necessary for effective bureaucracy. Meier suggests
that bureaucracy is most effective when given clear goals by electoral institutions,
allocated adequate resources and given pivotal autonomy apply their expertise to
social problems. It is the requirement of administrative autonomy that is most

inconsistent with participatory and democratic arrangements. Meier states
While bureaucracy at times claim to represent the interests of individuals,
bureaucracies are not inherently representative institutions and lack the
imprimatur of elections (1997, p. 195). He continues:
Bureaucracy is being asked to resolve political conflict, a function
it performs poorly at best. The scapegoating and resource
reductions have surely dissipated some of the bureaucratic capacity
essential for effective governance. If we are also going to ask
bureaucracy to solve political problems, then even greater capacity
is necessary. The solution to the governance problem in the United
States is to have more bureaucracy and less democracy (Meier,
1997, p. 197)
Building on Morones example of how unworkable the concept of
consensus can be in forging public decisions, Cary Coglianese in his article, The
Limits of Consensus (1999), explores its use in a specific context. As his
example, Coglianese uses the Enterprise for the Environment or E4E document
prepared with the participation of divergent membership, including environmental
groups, industry representatives, government officials and members of
environmental policy think tanks. The E4E document was envisioned as an
effort to repair a broken U.S. environmental protection system by creating
dialogue and forming recommendations. Former E.P.A. administrator William D.
Ruckelshaus initiated and chaired the process with coordination provided by the
National Academy for Public Administration, the Center for Strategic and
International Studies and The Keystone Center.

Coglianeses (1999) documentation of the E4E example further illustrates
the difficulty in the manufacture of consensus between competing factions and
concludes that effective policy making through participatory consensus is difficult
and problematic. It is not so much participation that Coglianese decries, but more
the reliance on consensus. Therefore, his preference, it seems, is simply pluralism
with formal invitation to the process. Based on Coglianeses reasoning, it would
seem that participatory legitimacy, which is partially borne out by the equity of
the selection process and rightful participation in the policy making body can be
at least minimized as a condition of equity. Furthermore, he contends that
legitimacy is not necessarily sustained by giving each member the right to kill the
entire process by simply dissenting. He asserts that by necessitating consensus,
the prospect of Madisons tyrannical majority is supplanted by the emergent
possibility of a tyranny of the minority.
The E4E document that results from this consensus-based process emerges
as a value-neutral treatise that adds little to the discussion of how to repair the
American environment. Specifically, Coglianese charges, it is vague, using broad
language with which few could disagree; it is too abstract to provide any
direction, thus contradicting its initial purpose. Furthermore, the document is not
innovative, failing to yield any new ideas or strategies. Finally, he states, it is not
analytical: The lack of attention to the problems associated with existing
environmental regulation ultimately constrains the value of the report
(Coglianese, 1999). The fact that consensus between such a diverse

representation of interests was untenable and no faction wanted to be the odd
man out resulted in the avoidance of the hard policy decisions. This, then, is
exactly the type of soft and useless policy direction alluded to by Hardin (1982),
Ophuls (1992) and Heilbroner (1991).
Other evidentiary studies support Coglianeses assertion. A 1982 study
that examined similar groups, found that the types of decision rules used affected
outcome as it related to the level of conflict. Specifically, the majority rule type
of decision process produced more task conflict than unanimous rule (consensus)
and no decision rule groups, and therefore promoted higher quality decisions
(Falk, 1982).
Cultural anthropologist Laura Nader has presented research suggesting
that the preservation of harmony as an ideal is a primary and contrived value in
dispute resolution In Harmony Ideology: Justice and Control In a Zapotec
Mountain Village (1990), Nader argues that harmony as manifest in the legal
norms of a small Zapotec village in southern Mexico, developed from a cultural
tradition that is a by-product of the spread of Christianity in the modem world.
The significance of this idea rests in the supposition that maintaining harmony (by
virtue of bargaining and compromise) within the village often supersedes justice
and equity. Nader elaborates on this theory explaining that a supporting factor of
harmony ideology is that by resolving these conflicts within the village, the
individual and the community engage in a self-preserving cultural norm that
maintains local control and shields the village from the loss of autonomy resulting

from larger state control. Naders greater implication, of course, is an
examination, perhaps, of things to come with more informal methods adopted in
the United States.
Nader describes the local Zapotec style of conflict resolution as very
informal to American eyes, with emphasis placed more on reconciliation than
fact-finding, and more on accommodation of interests and maintenance or
restoration of relationships than adjudication (Levine, 1991, p. 1,767). She also
describes situations in which informal conflict resolution gives way to coalition
building, power politics (villager style) and procedural domination by elites,
resulting in perhaps more harmonious, but less-than-equitable, resolutions. The
larger supposition emerging from her three decades of data is that informal
processes are no better than more formal processes when it comes to the quality of
decisions. More importantly, the diminution of justice as an ideal in conflict
resolution may be a real danger with community-based and familiar practices of
dispute resolution.
Nader elaborates her assertions with respect to the reformation of dispute
ideology in the United States. In Controlling Processes in the Practice of Law:
Hierarchy and Pacification in the Movement to Re-form Dispute Ideology
(1993), Nader further demonstrates the existence and force of the movement to
trade justice for harmony. She suggests that Alternative Dispute Resolution
(ADR) is not a universally desired improvement, but rather an often coercive
mechanism of pacification. (Nader, 1993, p. 1). Naders article gives a historical

overview (beginning in 1976) of the agents by whom, and the methods by which,
the ADR movement was marketed as a national ideology shift that she contends is
less effective than litigious procedures for rationing justice.
Naders article suggests that there are deep-seated factors rooted in
American civic culture that make the ideas of peace and harmony almost
unquestionable values. It was on the basis of this cultural rhetoric that the ADR
process and institutions were built. She describes the movement toward ADR as
one insidiously foisted on the American public by therapists, politicians and even
corporate sponsors, insisting that it is a change driven by misleading statistics and
perceptions of the malfunctions of litigation. Nader describes the evolution of
ADR as:
A change in the manner of thinking about rights and justice [that]
was shaped through a new discourse, and by means of this
discourse produces a movement against the contentious or
adversarial qualities of American law. In some ways, it was a
rebellion against law and lawyersoften by lawyers themselves.
A movement to control litigation was being constructed to replace
justice and rights talk with what I call harmony ideology, the belief
that harmony in the guise of compromise or agreement is ipso
facto better than an adversary posture (Nader, 1993, p. 2)
With these ideas as her starting point, Nader attempts to answer the
question, What is the meaning of harmony ideology in relation to unequal
relationships, and more broadly in terms of creating a culture of harmony which
may be coercive, repressive and basically undemocratic? (1993, p. 5). Nader
categorically disputes the notions that the use of courts is excessive or that
Americans are too litigious or that informal justice is more just. (1993, p. 23).

She maintains, drawing on the arguments of the Frankfurt school of critical
theorists, that the rhetoric of ADR builds on the ideology of consent, hiding
relations of force behind the notions of persuasion and mutual accord (p. 6).
Nader refutes the notion of a litigation explosion in America, a notion upon
which the ADR movement is founded. She reports that U.S. per capita court
use is roughly the same as that of other western democracies and asserts that the
litigation explosion is more folklore than fact. Nader further states that ADR is
often a conflict of interest by which arbitration panels are sponsored, funded and
sometimes staffed by the manufacturers and dealers that would, in a legal
proceeding, be plaintiffs. She refers to this phenomenon as complaining to Ford
about Ford.
Nader also alludes to an influence over language and cultural perspective
in an examination of studies performed on ADR. She cites an unpublished
doctoral dissertation, Mediation and Social Control by Judy Rothschild (19S6)
who studied a neighborhood justice center in San Francisco and specifically
examined the ideology of ADR. Nader cites that work, then notes the ideology,
of ADR depends on a negative evaluation of the traditional legal system and that
it does not pursue the substantive aspects of conflict, nor identify standards of
justice! 1993, P- 8). She goes on:
Disputants are trained to associate litigation with alienation,
hostility, and high cost. On the other hand, the same neighborhood
justice center portrayed mediation as a process that encourages
civic and community responsibility for dispute resolution, a