We are pleased to announce the publication of The International Journal of Public Participation (IJP2), Volume 3, Number 2. This special issue entitled “The Practice of Public Meetings” is available for download. This unique issue highlights the research of a team of communication scholars examining different aspects of one public meeting. The meeting under investigation was convened in Omaha, Nebraska in a predominantly African-American neighborhood for revealing the local Chamber of Commerce’s plans to improve economic development. An exciting and unique feature of this issue is that it gives readers the rare opportunity to view the same public meeting data under examination by a video posted on the web.
The articles in this issue showcase an approach to studying communication called Language and Social Interaction (LSI). This approach, often used in communication research, provides tools to help scholars look closely at the interactions that occur in public meetings. In this public meeting, members of the audience challenged the public officials and raised issues of trust, race and community membership. The articles in the IJP2 ask questions about how public participation is done in practice, and they disclose how challenges with this meeting are manifested in communication. Each article in this issue takes a close look at some aspect of the communication that happened during the meeting, including the question and answer session, personal stories, nonverbal communication, discussion of race and community, and framing of the meeting goals. The special issue closes with a summary of findings from the individual articles and implications for future public participation research and practice.