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By Stephen P. Depoe

The individuals to this quantity discover the verbal exchange practices of assorted stakeholders—interested voters, grassroots and public curiosity teams, representatives, scientists and technical specialists, executive organisations, federal regulators—engaged in various environmental decision-making contexts within the U.S. and somewhere else. incorporated are case reports that learn participants and businesses partaking either inside institutional mechanisms and during replacement different types of environmental advocacy. those experiences exhibit that public participation in environmental selection making is either formed via and, in lots of situations, restricted by way of the ways that environmental matters, difficulties, and ideas are outlined or framed throughout the strategic verbal exchange practices of the contributors.

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Mazmanian & Nienaber (1979) note the reactive position that public hearings force citizens to assume. Cole’s and Caputo’s (1984) longitudinal study of eight years of public hearings concerning the General Revenue Sharing Program found that “the public hearing may permit sanctioned isolation of agencies and agency officials seeking as little program and policy change as possible” (p. 415). Most citizens who attend local public hearings do so to represent a particular perspective on an issue, yet the public hearing format is not conducive 30 Communication and Public Participation to dialogue, discussion, learning, and creative problem solving.

Needs a forum in which to express his or her concerns—a place to make something happen, to step into the decision-making process, or in some cases, a way to get a decision-making process started. Public input in the decisional process includes suffrage, but it goes much farther. The heart of public voice is the right of free expression, supported by the rights of assembly and association. With these foundational rights, the public can speak out and organize collectively to influence the government’s environmental decisions.

A social constructionist view of communication accepts “the integrity of multiple, valid, A Social Communication Perspective 41 and contradictory perspectives engaged in dialogue” (Baxter & Montgomery, 1996, p. 47). Second, the process of communicating therefore becomes a necessary focal point for understanding how people come to understand each other and the worlds around them. Social communication is what happens between and among people. Communication from this perspective is the process of relating: it does not exist except between or among particular people (Baxter & Montgomery, 1996; Shotter, 1993; Stewart, 1995a).

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