Impacts of (un)civil discourse by organized groups on local governance in sustainable development projects

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Virginia Tech


Anecdotal evidence in the media and from personal conversations suggests that inflammatory rhetoric in the collaborative governance setting is increasing, especially during public meetings about sustainable development projects. Planners, mediators, facilitators, and government officials are facing a shutting down of public deliberation by "new activists" who are engaging in public forums in very emotional and uncompromising ways. This dissertation is a direct examination of actions by new activists. It includes two case studies in Roanoke, Virginia, as well as a broader look at the inflammatory rhetoric and disruptions in local public meetings now occurring across the country.



sustainable development, intractable conflicts, civil discourse, new activists, local government, Tea Party, Agenda 21, wind energy, local planning, facilitation, deliberation, public discourse