Fetishizing Process

Twenty years after Estes, Mark Lance revisited the concept and practice of consensus at a level both deeper in theory and practical description. Where Estes’ provides an introduction, Lance offers a fuller analysis. His position in the Department of Philosophy at Georgetown University affords him a good philosophical background, and the department itself provides him with a working decision-making group. Lance draws an important distinction between procedures, which dictate the rules of decision-making, and practices, which are the methods by which issues are raised and proposed solutions are discussed. Ultimately, he argues that specific procedures — especially consensus vs. supermajority rule — are substantially less significant as long as the practice is open, inclusive, and respectful.

Originally published in issue 38.