The Practice of Public Meetings: Introduction to the Special Issue


This special issue of IJP2 attempts to build linkages between public participation scholarship and communication research that emphasizes close attention to naturally-occurring interaction. The essays all investigate different aspects of the communication that occurs during one public meeting: a public forum that focused on issues of economic development in Omaha, Nebraska. Through their investigation of this common case, the essays in this issue provide detailed description of some communication processes common to public meetings such as nonverbal communication, question and answer behavior, storytelling, the use of the term “community,” and the terms people use to talk about their own communication. These studies highlight how such interactive practices function in important ways to build or challenge notions of community, frame the purpose and outcome of the meeting, display power differences among participants, and clarify key community values. This collection of essays highlights how close attention to what happens during public meetings can have important implications for both the theory and practice of public participation. A full video of the meeting is available online.


public meetings, Language and Social Interaction, communication, case study research

How to Cite

Leighter J. & Black L. & Cockett L. & Jarmon L., (2009) “The Practice of Public Meetings: Introduction to the Special Issue”, Journal of Public Deliberation 5(2). doi:







Jay Leighter (Creighton University)
Laura W. Black (Ohio University)
Lynn S. Cockett (Juniata College)
Leslie Jarmon



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0


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