Recentering Democracy Framing The Discussion

668 views

Published on

Opening comments at the Recentering Democracy Around Citizens conference, February 16, 2010, Cantigny Conference Center, Wheaton, IL. Conference organized by the Deliberative Democracy Consortium, hosted by the McCormick Foundation.

Published in: News & Politics
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Recentering Democracy Framing The Discussion

  1. 1. Recentering Democracy around Citizens McCormick Foundation Deliberative Democracy Consortium Cantigny Conference Center Wheaton, Illinois February 16-18, 2010
  2. 2. In other words, he thinks he’s Stephen Colbert
  3. 3. In other words, he thinks he’s Stephen Colbert Rachael Ray
  4. 4. <ul><li>What is recentering? </li></ul><ul><li>What is democracy? </li></ul><ul><li>What are citizens? </li></ul>Recentering Democracy around Citizens
  5. 5. …which brings us to tonight’s word
  6. 6. Democracy = Governance + Community?
  7. 7. Democracy = Just, Equitable, Deliberative Governance + Inclusive, Intensive Community?
  8. 8. Democracy = Discovering, Deliberating, Deciding + Dining, Drinking, Dancing?
  9. 9. Quick, stop him before he has an alliteration overdose
  10. 10. “ Engagement” and “Involvement” <ul><li>Often used interchangeably – along with many other terms </li></ul><ul><li>Definitions always fuzzy </li></ul><ul><li>Knight/Soul of the Community definition somewhat broader </li></ul>
  11. 11. I will use “involvement” to mean: <ul><li>Large, diverse critical mass of people (or sometimes a representative sample) </li></ul><ul><li>Size (of group) matters </li></ul><ul><li>Process matters – facilitation, guides, personal experience, range of views </li></ul><ul><li>Different levels of action: volunteerism, small-group change, organizational change, policy change </li></ul>
  12. 12. Two contexts for involvement <ul><li>Temporary efforts (the benefits are enjoyed by a large number of people but for a short period of time) </li></ul><ul><li>Permanent structures (the benefits are enjoyed for a longer period of time but by a smaller number of people) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Humor him – he only has control of this meeting for ten more minutes
  14. 14. <ul><li>Reason #1: </li></ul><ul><li>Because current practices of involvement can “work” – but are usually not sustainable </li></ul><ul><li>( So recentered democracy = sustained involvement) </li></ul>Why even try to “recenter” democracy?
  15. 15. “Works” = Matt continues to have a job
  16. 16. <ul><li>Reason #2: </li></ul><ul><li>Because current practices of involvement are inequitable </li></ul><ul><li>( So recentered democracy = more equitable involvement, with more equitable outcomes) </li></ul>Why even try to “recenter” democracy?
  17. 17. <ul><li>Reason #3: </li></ul><ul><li>Because current practices of involvement can’t easily be ‘scaled up’ to state and federal issues </li></ul><ul><li>( So recentered democracy = national democracy) </li></ul>Why even try to “recenter” democracy?
  18. 18. <ul><li>Reason #4: </li></ul><ul><li>Because community attachment has benefits – and ‘politics as usual’ may reduce attachment </li></ul><ul><li>( So recentered democracy = more proactive approach to community) </li></ul>Why even try to “recenter” democracy?
  19. 19. <ul><li>Reason #5: </li></ul><ul><li>Because people want political legitimacy </li></ul><ul><li>( So recentered democracy = public happiness) </li></ul>Why even try to “recenter” democracy?
  20. 20. “Public happiness” = How you felt after the third glass of wine at the reception last night
  21. 21. Why talk about “recentering” now? <ul><li>Changes in what citizens want and can do </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in technology </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing inadequacy (due to 1 and 2) of “politics as usual” – frustrations of leaders as well as citizens </li></ul>
  22. 22. Potential ingredients of robust, ‘recentered’ local democracy: <ul><ul><li>Strong tradition of involvement in decision-making and problem-solving </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal, governmental structures, support, and legitimacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thriving online community that is connected to geography </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Abundant social/cultural/political offerings </li></ul></ul>

×