A brief history of consensus decision-making


It’s not surprising that passionate proponents of consensus decision-making might want to root their ideas firmly in history. After all it gives consensus greater authority and legitimacy. However, this is often done as a few short paragraphs or even a few short lines. When asked recently to focus on the history of consensus for a course I’m involved in delivering, I decided it was time to dig a little deeper and here’s the result…. a whirlwind tour of some of the historical movements and peoples upon which consensus draws, many of whom are still there and still using their version of consensus.

In reality few of these examples show consensus decision-making as it’s used by folk like Rhizome, ie: formal or simple consensus, but they all have important elements to them that are cornerstones of consensus. Oh, and I’m not claiming that this is an exhaustive piece of academic research…

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