Cover image for Citizen Competence and Democratic Institutions Edited by Stephen  L. Elkin and Karol Soltan

Citizen Competence and Democratic Institutions

Edited by Stephen L. Elkin, and Edited by Karol Soltan

BUY

$30.95 | Paperback Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-03018-0

436 pages
6" × 9"
26 b&w illustrations
1998

Committee on the Political Economy of the Good Society

Citizen Competence and Democratic Institutions

Edited by Stephen L. Elkin, and Edited by Karol Soltan

“The sense of purpose and wholeness in the work is quite remarkable. This is a work of integrity and merit that should not be ignored.”

 

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Bringing together new work from many of the leading experts on democratic citizenship, this volume presents both normative argument and empirical analysis to help deepen our understanding of the various competences that citizens require if there is to be a flourishing democratic political order in our present age.

The essays explore the following themes: (1) the essential components of democratic citizenship and how these can be fostered; (2) the state of citizen competence in various democratic regimes; (3) civil society as a crucial site for the exercise and development of democratic citizenship; (4) new findings that show democratic citizens to have more political information and behave more rationally than hitherto supposed; and (5) the theory and practice of new institutional forms for democratic deliberation and democratic control.

The final section of the book explores new and revitalized forms of democratic participation as well as the kind of participation that is likely to foster a wide variety of citizen competences. The discussion runs from what we know and can expect from town meetings, to the value of public work in fostering a democratic citizenry, to entirely new forms for expressing citizen judgment.

The Contributors are Benjamin Barber, Harry C. Boyte, Frank M. Bryan, Michael A. Dimock, Stephen L. Elkin, James S. Fishkin, Norman Frohlich, John Gaventa, Elizabeth Gerber, Alan Kay, Robert E. Lane, Arthur Lupia, Jane Mansbridge, Joe A. Oppenheimer, Benjamin Page, Samuel Popkin, Nancy Rosenblum, Robert Shapiro, Karol Edward Soltan, Marion Smiley, and David Steiner.

“The sense of purpose and wholeness in the work is quite remarkable. This is a work of integrity and merit that should not be ignored.”
“This ably-edited volume brings together a collection of empirical and theoretical essays examining the capacity and desirability of wide-spread citizen participation in democratic societies. The essays examine not only what citizens do know, but ought to, if democratic societies are to enhance their performance. . . . Overall, Citizen Competence and Democratic Institutions is an important contribution to democratic theory and practice.”

Stephen L. Elkin and Karol Edward Soltan both teach in the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland. They co-edited the two PEGS volumes preceding this one, The New Constitutionalism (1993) and The Constitution of Good Societies (Penn State, 1996).

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