Democracy Bibliography

In the past, I posted my in-progress queer theologies bibliography which relates to the work I do as a student intern minister and scholar (in-training) of religion. And, as I’m working on a research project related to citizens and the disconnectedness they feel from the politics or being able to make any sort of real, substantive difference in the political arena, I thought I would start posting my really very long bibliography on democracy and various topics within democracy – with a strong focus on deliberative democracy. This is related to my work for The Kettering Foundation (although this blog and this post is not a product of or in anyway related to the operations of the Foundation – I am simply a independent consultant to the Foundation.)

If you would like to use any part of this bibliography, please email me elizabeth 199 at gmail dot com. Note that there should not be a space between the elizabeth and 199. I know it is long – it is meant to be a reference and not beach reading. Some citations are not up-to-date. Some of the forthcomings have come forth and I haven’t updated it and some citations are only partial. This is a work in progress. Any suggestions or questions are welcome.

Barber, Benjamin. “You Can’t Export McWorld and Call it Democracy,” (ch. 7) Fear’s Empire: War, Terrorism And Democracy In An Age Of Interdependence, W.W. Norton, 2003: 145-154.

In this chapter, Barber seeks to distinguish market liberalization from democratization, arguing that, despite the widespread use of such terms of “market democracy”, democratization does not automatically entail a neo-liberal approach to economic development nor do neo-liberal economic policies necessarily foster democratization. Barber points out that free markets have a history of developing with democracy and that, in the end, it is democratic institutions that are meant to regulate the free market. Instead, market globalization in the late 20th century and in the 21st century has diminished state regulation of markets, promoted a consumerist understanding of democracy, and has seen the conflation of citizen and consumer. Barber argues that in seeking to foster democratic rule, the United States must be avoid confusion between promoting democracy and promoting “McWorld.”

Boussard, Caroline. “Civil Society and Democratisation: Conceptual and Empirical Challenges,” in Development and Democracy: What have we learned and how? Eds. Ole Elgstrom and Goran Hyden.

Boussard seeks to clarify what is meant by civil society (as the word is used differently in different contexts) and to analyze the role that it has or could have in the process of democratisation. She asks what role civil society plays in democratisation, how civil society interacts with other factors that influence democratisation, and what the “civil” in civil society refers to, noting that associational life may flourish in a society in very undemocratic and counterproductive ways. Boussard concludes that civil society has the potential to play a key role in democratic consolidation and in democratic transition, although in each phase it plays a different role. According to Boussard, civil society plays two roles in democratization. First, it acts as a countervailing power to the government – this is a watchdog role. In this role, civil society is made up of many organizations, not all of whom are democratic or trustful, but nonetheless they serve a positive purpose for democracy. Second, and more important to democratization, civil society acts as a proactive democracy-building force. In this second role, organizations are not simply valuable because they are associations, but because they explicitly have the public good in mind (in a broad sense) and operate within democratic frameworks themselves. In order for civil society to best function in its second role, it must be able to “simultaneously…resist subornation to the state and demand inclusion into national political structures” (165). Finally, Boussard argues that in order to be successful in democratization, organizations that are a part of civil society must be able to maintain autonomy from the governments and organizations that fund them.

Boyte, Harry. “Professions as Public Work,” in Everyday Politics: Reconnecting Citizens and Public Life, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 2004: 113-215.

Boyte argues that by shifting our understanding of professional culture and practice toward the concept of public work, using the approaches of everyday politics, is good for professionals, citizens, and for strengthening democracy. In tradition of public professionalism, he draws on John Dewey’s understanding of knowledge as a social resource and as a source of power, and points out that Dewey’s theory is particularly relevant in the twenty-first century. Boyte illustrates and discusses changing professional practices in various fields: education, the clergy, health care, and family therapy.

Boyte, Harry. “Silences and Civic Muscle, or Why Social Capital but Insufficient Concept for Governance,” Presentation to Government Officials of Western Cape Province, August 14, 2005.

Boyte outlines some of the limitations of social capital as articulated by Putnam, arguing that 1) political forms of association are insufficiently distinguished from more therapeutic forms of association, 2) the concept of social capital fails to take into account the need for the identification of ways that professionals can move from narrowly functional understanding of work to a vision of work that produces lasting public benefit, and 3) it does not account for public goods and wealth (as opposed to private goods and wealth) that enrich and contribute to strong, effective communities. In order to begin to fill in the gaps that the social capital framework leaves in imagining possibilities for a robust and self-governing public, Boyte outlines a vision of “democratic forces crossing boarders and inside and outside government, that develops civic capacities, civic cultures, and democratic society to solve problems and creative public wealth…” with an explicit goal of countering “fundamentalist” and “market threats” that are moving toward the privatization of the public world.

Brooks, David. “Age of Political Segregation,” Editorial Desk, The New York Times, June 29, 2004.

Brooks notes that, according to several studies, the higher level of education that an American attains, correlates with the likelihood of being more polarized. He believes that this is because as Americans become more educated, they have more access to information which can reinforce the position that they already hold. Further, the higher the educational attainment, the easier it is to surround ourselves with people just like us, thus reinforcing our political beliefs. As a antidote to this political segregation, Brooks suggests that a national service program where youth are required to serve, with others not just like themselves, in a part of the country unlike what they are used to, might help to expose people to other viewpoints, challenging the ones that they already hold and preventing the stabilization and reinforcement of their current political inclinations. He further suggests that we might consider adjusting the primary system so that it doesn’t reinforce polarization, as it seems to in its current form.

Button, Mark and David Michael Ryfe. “What Can We Learn From the Practice of Deliberative Democracy?” in The Deliberative Democracy Handbook: Strategies for Effective Civic Engagement in the Twenty-First Century, John Gastil and Peter Levine, eds. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2005: 20-33.

In this chapter that covers a range of key issues related to deliberation, the authors begin by pointing out that there is “surprisingly little cross-communication” between deliberation “experts” and those working on the community level. (This is in the context of the authors’ assertion that “the deliberative movement around the globe is spearheaded by a relatively small cadre of experts” and that the most prolific models of deliberation [NIF, deliberative polling, Citizens Juries, etc.] are expert-created models.) Button and Ryfe hope that increased communication between experts/theorists and practitioners can sharpen normative accounts of deliberative democracy, as well as benefit the “design and practice of deliberation” as it takes place in communities. They touch on various ways that theoretical work on deliberation can strengthen its practice (affirming that theoretical work on deliberation has practical implications) and the ways that practical considerations should ground theoretical thinking (drawing attention to the sometimes overly ephemeral quality of deliberation theory). The chapter also highlights a need for a balance between empirical evidence that decisions arrived at via deliberation are preferable to other decisions making mechanisms (justification that the authors argue remains to be convincingly made), and acknowledgment that the benefits and strengths of deliberation are not purely instrumental, but that there is something about the principles of deliberation that make it appealing and meaningful in and of itself, regardless of its demonstrated practical value. The authors close with conjectures about the intrinsic values of democratic deliberation and “what sorts of evaluative standards or benchmarks” might be appropriate to “judge the relative success of deliberative practices.”

Carothers, Thomas. “Democracy’s Sobering State,” Current History, December 2004.

Carothers offers a brief assessment of the state of democracy around the world, noting that the optimism and progress seen in the growth of democracy in the early-mid 1990s has not only stagnated, but that in some ways, democratic progress has lost ground since then. He offers several explanations for this. First, in states where it appeared that the authoritarian governments were replaced by fledgling, yet sincere, democratically inclined governments, it is now becoming clear that the reforms did not penetrate structures very deeply. Authoritarian rule has been able to reassert itself, particularly in light of the economic and social challenges the countries face. This leads into a second challenge – these young democratic governments have not succeeded in providing better conditions for its citizens. Carothers calls this the performance problem. Third, the so-called war on terrorism has complicated matters further. The United States has been less likely to push for democratic reform in countries such as Russia and Pakistan because of the perceived need for close counterterrorism cooperation with such governments. Further, in the wake of 9/11, the United States has done a poor job of balancing the need for tighter security with respect of basic rights central to a democracy. Situations like the torture at Abu Ghraib, along with the quiet eroding of civil liberties protections in the United States, has sent a message that what many would consider to be basic characteristics of a democratic society are negotiable. Finally, Carothers cites the democratic deficit in the Middle East, and the gap between the U.S. rhetoric and actions as both a current and future danger to democracy. He closes with what he considers to be key questions that must be considered: How can democracy be stimulated in regions where authoritarianism has bested the democratic trend, and how can democracy be supported where it is under siege because of poor performance?

Carothers, Thomas. “Promoting Democracy and Fighting Terror,” Foreign Affairs 82(1), Jan/Feb 2003.

Carothers’ article deals with the tension the Bush administration faces in seeking to promote democracy abroad and, at the same time, counter the threat of terrorism. On one hand, in seeking to counter the terrorist threat, the United States needs the cooperation of authoritarian governments such as Pakistan’s. Carothers outlines several instances where the United States accepts non-democratic/semi-democratic governments (Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, etc.) because to demand democratic reform would endanger the essential cooperation that United States needs from such countries. However, on the other hand, the administration is recognizing that the long-standing policy of overlooking non-democratic rule in places such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt must be reconsidered. Pre-9/11, there was the sense that “autocratic stability for the sake of various economic security interests” was more important than the promotion of democracy. However, it is now clear that overlooking autocracies did nothing to stem the growth of Islamist extremism, and in fact, provided a haven for such movements. Thus, the administration is pursuing a policy of promoting democracy in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and more generally in countries where it is perceived that democracy would be successful in reducing the threat of terrorism. However, Carothers argues that the use of democracy promotion instrumentally and inconsistently creates a credibility problem and, further, that such an approach does not have a track record of success. He cites the Reagan administration’s efforts at “democracy” promotion in South and Central America in the 1980s as an example of the failure of such policies. Carothers also points out that the sharp curtailment of civil liberties in the United States after 9/11, civil liberties that until recently had been understood to be an integral part of democracy, further contributes to the problem of credibility. If the United States can adjust democratic freedoms to fit meet perceived security needs, it becomes difficult to credibly argue that other countries cannot do so to the extent that they see fit. Carothers is nuanced in his critique of the Bush administration, noting that it is a difficult balance and that “George W. Bush is…scarcely the first U.S. president to evidence a split personality on democracy promotion.” However, he puts forth that the stakes are unusually high for this administration and that it must demonstrate a long-term commitment to authentic (not instrumental or theoretical) democracy promotion abroad, without compromising democratic freedoms at home.

Carter, Lisle, “Can Deliberative Democracy Save Us?” Kettering Review, Spring 2001: 48-56.

Carter argues that citizens’ participation in deliberation over common problems is one step toward remedying the challenges to the legitimacy of democratic politics posed by the increasing role of mass media and money and the atrophy of political parties. Carter notes that deliberation must become one part of what citizenship is about. He argues that sustained deliberative engagement can be the first step toward a more engaged citizenry and that such deliberations can be an important part of linking citizens with the government the decisions that are made at the government level – that is in giving citizens “substantive input in important political decisions…themselves making contributions to effective government.”

Chrislip, David D. and Carl E. Larson. “Chapter 2, The Challenge to Traditional Leadership,” in Collaborative Leadership: How Citizens and Civic Leaders Can Make a Difference, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1994.

In the larger context of developing and reporting on successful ways that people to come together to address shared community challenges, “The Challenge to Traditional Leadership,” names some of the persistent challenges that a collaborative approach to community politics faces. Some of these challenges include the increasing complexity (or the increased awareness of complexity) of politics and society, the growing interest- and advocacy-based approach to political problems, the amplified diffusion of political power so that individuals and single groups lack sufficient resources or power to make sweeping or systemic changes, overly-zealous individualism, and the inability of society to prevent fragmentation and to convincingly engage citizens in political life. The authors present a collaborative approach to leadership and community as antidotes to these aforementioned challenges.

Coles, Romand. “Moving Democracy: Industrial Areas Foundation Social Movements and the Political Arts of Listening, Traveling, and Tabling,” Political Theory 32(5), October 2004: 678-705.

Drawing from the work of IAF, Coles seeks to move past what can sometimes appear to be the understanding of citizen participation as a panacea; instead he attempts articulate more nuanced view of possibilities and difficulties that face all of those concerned with nurturing more engaged, connected communities and healthier, more vibrant democratic life. Whereas developing citizen voice is often a metaphorical fallback for thinking about democratic possibilities, Coles instead suggests a shift to listening as central to the democratic process, and ask what role listening might play in strengthening and creating possibilities for a rich democratic life. Further, he draws heavily on the metaphor of “tabling,” pointing us toward a move away from a metaphorical center table of public power, and instead to multiple tables where the public gathers – in crowded basements of African-American churches, the backrooms of community development storefront offices, and to the kitchen table of the community leader in the Hispanic boarder town in Texas. By moving between these various tables, and envisioning such tables as the integral to democratic life, Coles offers a fresh notion of what doing democracy might look like. He closes with the articulation of tensions that continue to require thoughtful reflection if the work of democracy and inclusion is to move forward, acknowledging that no metaphor is all-encompassing, and urging readers to move past the overly-simplistic theory and practices that can sometimes limit the potential of communities to come together in new ways.

Dees, J. Gregory, Beth Battle Anderson, and Jane Wei-Skillern. “Pathways to Social Impact: Strategies for Scaling Out Successful Social Innovations,” CASE Working Paper Series, No. 3, Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, August 2002.

This article begins with a narrative about a highly successful program in inner-city Pittsburgh that, despite effort and desire on the part of the leaders, was not able to be successfully replicated in other communities. The authors ask what factors lead to an initiative or program being successfully shared beyond the community in which it originated. In other words, how can communities and social entrepreneurs within those communities share information and approaches to successful undertakings in a way that allows other communities to benefit from the learning and experiences of the original community? The authors point out a quote by Lisbeth Schorr who observes that “we have learned to create the small exceptions that can change the lives of hundreds. But we have not learned how to make the exceptions the rule to change the lives of millions.” Toward the end of making the exceptions the rule, the authors outline various areas that need to be considered as communities or individuals seek to share learning and successes with other communities in the hopes that projects and patterns can be replicated. In thinking what information is most helpful to share with other communities (or to “scale out”) the authors suggest considering not only an individual program, but also the organizational structure of the initiative, and the principle(s) that underlie the effort. They point out different ways of scaling – from dissemination to affiliation to branching – and offer a helpful checklist of factors to consider when choosing a strategy for scaling out: readiness, resources, receptivity, risks, and returns.

DeFilippis, James. “The Myth of Social Capital in Community Development,” Housing Policy Debate 12(4), 2001: 781-806.

DeFilippis argues that community development practices are not well-served by social capital theory as it has been conceptualized by Putnam, and that instead such efforts toward strengthening communities should instead draw from social capital theory as it is outlined by earlier theorists such as Bourdieu and Loury where power relations and economic capital remain more central to the analysis. The author points out that it is not so much that poor, inner-city neighborhoods lack social networks and trust, but rather they lack power. Using the example of gated communities, DeFilippis points out that these economically well-off neighborhoods are able to meet most needs within their relatively homogeneous networks and communities, and often exhibit high levels of trust among their neighbors. Where Putnam might suggest that underprivileged communities simply need more access to “bridging” social capital, DeFilippis argues that “bridging capital is really needed only if a community’s residents are poor and therefore on the losing end of a set of power relations.” The gated communities have much less need for bridging social capital. DeFilippis’s article points out several other empirical flaws in Putnam’s research and argues that, while social capital can be a helpful analytical tool, as it is currently used it offers little in the way of strengthening communities’ ability to act collectively toward the common good.

Delli Carpini, Michael, Fay Lomax Cook and Lawrence Jacobs, “Public Deliberation, Discursive Participation and Citizen Engagement: A Review of the Empirical Literature,” Annual review of Political Science, June 2004: 315-344.

The study show that many people are involved in conversations with deliberative qualities. While noting, as other articles do, that empirical research around deliberation and its long-term effects is lacking, the authors believe that there is enough research to begin to assess “what we know” and “what we still need to know about the actual and potential relationship between deliberation and other forms of attitudinal and behavioral engagement in public life” (316). The authors conclude that the current research demonstrates that there are tangible benefits to deliberation including fostering a sense of participation and connectedness among the citizenry. These benefits are highly dependent on context.

Delli Carpini, Michael, Fay Lomax Cook, and Lawrence Jacobs, “Talking Together: Discursive Capital and Civic Deliberation in America,” paper delivered at the Midwest Political Science Association Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, April 3-6, 2003.

This is a preliminary report on a larger project that seeks to gauge “which Americans deliberate, the traits of those who deliberate, the topics they deliberate about, and the nature of these deliberative experiences” (6). This study fills a widely acknowledged void of empirical research related to deliberation. The preliminary analysis shows that Americans are deliberating much more than is generally assumed. According to the authors, “based on a narrow definition of public deliberation, one quarter of Americans attended a meeting in the past year to discuss a public issue” (19). Further, 16 percent attended between one and five meetings, and 9 percent more than five meetings in the past year. Other key findings include that online deliberation, which has received substantial attention by those studying civic life, was used by four percent of the respondents, whereas 85 percent responded that they have had conversations about public issues. The authors conclude that the “results appear to offer a glimmer of hope that Americans are entergetic and inventive in seeking new avenues for political engagement” (28).

Diamond, Larry, “Universal Democracy?” Policy Review, Heritage Foundation, June 1, 2003. Available online at

Diamond argues that the world is “on the cusp of a grand historical tipping point” towards the development of democracy and the end of authoritarian rule. Diamond suggests that democracy has begun to proliferate throughout the world, that of “26 states since 1974 have become independent of colonial rule; 15 of these became democracies upon independence and have remained so, and another six have become democratic after some period of authoritarian rule.” Diamond sees the American-led development of democracy in Iraq as another indicator of the spread of democracy throughout the world. Relying on Huntington’s third wave, Diamond argues that a carefully tailored economic development strategy, one that promotes democratic reform as a requirement to receiving aid, will increase the spread of democracy. Diamond admits that actively promoting democracy is a bold endeavor, and predicts that in the “near term, we will probably fall short of the courage, imagination, and nerve truly necessary to transform the global political culture.” Diamond finds that “unless[the United States] learn[s] to work with and through international partners and institutions while seeking to energize, transform, and democratize global structures, our scope to effect further democratic change in the world will shrink.”

Doble Research Associates, Governing America: Our Choices, Our Challenges, A Report on 1997-1998 National Issue Forums,1998.

This report draws from three five hour long research forums conducted in Cleveland, Los Angeles and Concord, New Hampshire in 1997, using a four-choice framework drafted by the Foundation. The study looked into the ways that people understand obstacles or challenges to more involvement in the political process and found, not surprisingly, that people feel disconnected form the political process. Those who took part in the study reported that they are not able to see a role for people like themselves in the political process, particularly at the national level, and they felt as if they had little ability to make a real difference. However, the more people deliberated, the more important the issue of political connectedness seemed to become. Participants talked about the obstacles to participation in the political process, but also dealt with the ways that those obstacles might be overcome. The writers note that “preliminary findings suggest that being involved locally plays a part in restoring some participants’ sense of connectedness toward national politics and government.” The survey that participants filled out before and after the deliberative sessions indicated that the deliberation itself helped people to feel more potential for efficacy in their public lives.

Doble Research Associates, “How People Understand the Challenges to Becoming More Involved in the Political Process,” A Report to The Kettering Foundation, November 2000.

This report draws from the views of 1,441 participants that took part in forums related to Governing America: Our Choices, Our Challenge. The data comes from pre- and post-forum questionnaires, as well as from qualitative analysis of 18 forums, and interviewing of both participants and moderators who took part in these forums. Six themes emerged from the deliberation at these forums, highlighting some of the ways that people feel about government when they deliberate about it: 1) Despite peace and prosperity, people continue to feel alienated and disaffected; 2) Money and powerful contributors alienate citizens from politics and public officials; 3) Government should be more efficient, but only if services are delivered equitably; 4) Government should be closer to the people; 5) We should rediscover our sense of citizenship; 6) Many found it hard to imagine how citizenship could be rediscovered. Five themes emerged in the deliberation that citizens felt could inhibit the rediscovery of citizenship or becoming a public: apathy; practical constraints; structural barriers; mistrust of “the people”; and an inability to imagine what “a public” is or what it would do.

Doble Research Associates. Responding to the Critics of Deliberation. Dayton OH: Kettering Foundation, 1996 — especially “Introduction” (pp. 1-6) and “Understanding the Effects” (pp. 50-56).

Doble overviews the criticisms of public deliberation, noting that the arguments against public deliberation each seem to “fit inside each other.” For instance, if the argument that no one can really say what deliberation is, is rebutted, then critics claim, “Even if there were a coherent definition of deliberation, ordinary people would not take the time to deliberate.” And when this second argument is addressed, critics move on to a third, forth, all the way through an eighth argument against public deliberation. Doble takes these eight arguments against deliberation and worked “with eight communities where NIF (National Issue Forums) has taken root in order to find out what those with the NIF experience – those who have convened moderated, or participated in forums – would say to the critics of public deliberation” (4). The bulk of the paper outlines responses, and correlating trends, that came out of this time with eight communities who have taken up deliberation as a habit. The respondents overwhelming disagreed with or had experience contrary to the claims of critics of deliberation.

Doubon, Ramon E. and Harold Saunders. “Operationalizing Social Capital: A Strategy to Enhance Communities’ ‘Capacity to Concert’,” International Studies Perspectives 3, 2002: 176-191.

This article points out the relative failure (with some exceptions) of development assistance programs to produce sustainable economic and social gains in recipient countries. The authors suggest that this is because development aid approaches focus too heavily on the economic aspects of development, and because efforts tend to focus too narrowly on “projects.” Rather, sustainable development comes about when people’s “capacity to concert” is increased. This term, commonly understood in Latin America, is a dynamic capacity defined by Webster’s New World Dictionary as “to arrange or settle by mutual understanding, to contrive or plan together, to devise.” Doubon and Saunders point out that financial resources are only one among three parts of sustainable development, the other two being advice and networking connections. By focusing on all three parts of sustainable development toward the vision of increasing countries’ and communities’ capacity to concert, Doubon and Saunders argue that development programs have a much higher chance of sustainable, long-term, success. They close by outlining 10 conclusions and recommendations for donor organizations toward the aim of increasing the sustainability of gains from development aid.

Farr, James. “Social Capital: A Conceptual History,” Political Theory 32(1), February 2004: 6-63.

Farr’s article reviews the history of the use and meaning of “social capital,” including but not limited to its use by Hanifan, Marx, Dewey, and Putnam, seeking to uncover previously unseen (or forgotten) connections, relationships, and possibilities. Farr also touches on some instances where the concept of social capital, but not necessarily the actual term, has been employed and has contributed to the term’s meaning and development. In this latter category, the author points out the work of Tocqueville, Hume, Smith, and Mill. The article closes with some reflections on the ways that the conceptual history of social capital might uncover possibilities or lead to increased clarity surrounding the challenges of building communities with the capacity to work and act together.

Fiorina, Morris with Samuel Abrams, and Jeremy Pope. Culture Wars? The Myth of a Polarized America

Fiorina analyzes long-term public opinion data to contest the argument that we are deeply divided as a nation. He argues that, despite the media attention to and political rhetoric about “culture wars” and the polarization of the U.S. citizenry, in reality the vast majority of Americans are tolerant and moderate in their political views. He notes that the book’s conclusions support those of Alan Wolfe in One Nation, After All, “but report similar findings based on an examination of the views of tens of thousands of Americans questioned in national services” rather than Wolfe’s intensive interviewing of 200 middle-class American families. Fiorina attributes that perception of a divided nation to special interests groups, political parties, politicians and the media that capitalize on, and often promote, perceived cultural divides to advance their own interests, living little room for the nuance, understanding of complexity, and moderation that characterizes the views of most Americans.

Fountain, Henry. “The Lonely American Just Got a Bit Lonelier,” in The New York Times, July 2, 2006.

This article highlights the increasing isolation that large segments of the U.S. American population faces. Fountain points out that “Americans are not only lacking in bowling partners, now they’re lacking in people to tell their deepest, darkest secrets.” The main study referenced in the article, a joint study by researchers at Duke and The University of Arizona, found that on average, most adults have only two people with which they can talk to about the most important parts of their lives, and almost one forth have no one in this category. Further, the study “suggested that a weakening of community connections is in part responsible for increasing social isolation. More people are working and commuting longer hours and have little time for the kinds of external social activities that could lead to deeper relationships.” While the internet is referenced as a possible antidote to some of the isolation faced by U.S. Americans, relationships developed and maintained via electronic communication consistently fail to create the strongest bonds that were the focus of the Duke/University of Arizona study.

Frederickson, George H. “Easy Innovation and the Iron Cage: Best Practice, Benchmarking, Ranking and the Management of Organization Creativity,” An occasional paper of the Kettering Foundation, June 2003.

Frederickson argues that the tendency for businesses to rely on best practices, benchmarking, rankings, and awards as a path to or indication of innovation has actually contributed to the decline of innovation. He points out that that this business ethos has profoundly impacted not only businesses, but governmental organizations and non-profits, as well. The result of best practices, benchmarking, and ranking has resulted in an “iron cage” that reduces, rather than increases (as is intended), the prospects for innovation. Fredrickson draw attention to the fact that benchmarking and best practices are ways to disseminate innovations that have already taken place, but not to facilitate the development of new innovations. In order to create and grow new innovations, the author argues (and draws from studies that similarly claim) that organizations must be willing to commit resources, allow for flexibility and a measure of inefficiency, and make room for the creativity that innovation requires. While there is no formula or gimmick that can automatically lead to innovation, a study by Paul Light in Sustaining Innovation: Creating Nonprofit and Government Organizations that Innovate Naturally shows that, in organizations with a history of successful innovation, four key values stand out – trust of employees, clients, and partners; honesty about the organization’s mission and about who makes decisions; rigor in internal management and outcome evaluation; and faith in the purposes of the organization and its possibilities. This, combined with another study argues that businesses with a set of core values and common purpose outside of profit are most the most successful innovators, serves to highlight Fredrickson’s call for the public and nonprofit sectors to redouble efforts at creating space for innovation. In particular this is important because “the primary work of the public and nonprofit sectors is to achieve public interest and to serve the people. Innovation,” he argues, “in the service of the public interest should not be cheated.”

Fung, Archon. “Democratizing the Policy Process” in Oxford Handbook of Public Policy, Martin Rein, Michael Moran, and Robert E Goodin, eds.

Fung argues that argues direct participatory democracy and expert-driven representative democracy can be complementary. Specifically, he suggests that the “democratic deficits” of the electoral system can be reduced by the systematic incorporation of citizen deliberation into the representative system. Four democratic deficits where deliberative practices are able to foster a “thicker continuing relationship between political elites and their constitutes” are identified. 1) When citizens’ preferences are unstable or unclear, it is difficult and not necessarily advisable for elected representatives to develop policy that is responsive to these preferences. Here deliberative democratic practices have the potential to clarify and/or stabilize citizen’s preferences so they can be a more meaningful part of policy development. 2) Even when preferences are more stable and clear, electoral mechanisms provide only “blunt signals” regarding the preferences of citizens. Using deliberative democratic participation as a way of facilitating conversation between politicians and their constituents provide a more nuanced picture of the citizenry’s preferences, allowing government to be more responsive. 3) The “electoral mechanisms may prove too weak to hold the political and administrative machinery of government accountable to citizens when they have clear preferences.” 4) Even when politicians are aware of citizens clear and stable preferences, the government may not be able to respond to the preferences in a way that meets the needs of citizens. For instance, if a community has high crime rates, even if elected representatives passes laws toward crime reduction, there may be solutions to discover and steps to take that citizens, and only a deliberative citizenry can arrive at through a process of deliberation.

Gawronski, Vincent T. and Richard Stuart Olson. “Mexico as a Living Tapestry: The 1985 Disaster in Retrospect,” Natural Hazards Observer 30(1), September 2005.

This reviews the way that the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City served as a catalyst for citizens engaging in and demanding a new kind of politics in Mexico City. When the earthquake hit, citizens came together very successfully to address the needs of the city and its people, particularly when it became clear that the dictatorial PRI could not. This disaster served to highlight the waning influence and ability of the PRI, and to encourage citizens that they could do great things together to meet immediate needs (for example, addressing the needs of earthquake victims) and that there were possibilities to do great things together to make longer-term change, as well. The authors point out that the “national tapestry” was already being woven before the earthquake, but that the earthquake served as a catalyst to help the people realize the potential of the that which they wove together. While certainly the earthquake was only one factor in the PRI’s loss of power in 2000, the authors make a convincing case that the 1985 earthquake, and citizens attendant realization of their own power and abilities, contributed to this.

Gittell, Marilyn. “Chapter 3, Research Methods and Procedures,” Limits to Citizen Participation, Beverley Hills, CA: Sage Publications, 1980: 51-58.

This chapter outlines the approach that Gittell and her fellow researchers took in identifying and selecting organizations to be a part of their study, and in deciding what data and information would be collected and how. It was decided that members of the participating organizations were best suited to research and report on the work of the organization and that these members would be trained uniformly. The author pointed out that this not only made it more likely that the organizations would be comfortable in sharing and “being observed” but also that the researchers would retain the skills they learn after the completion of the project, offering a lasting benefit to the community and organization.

Grogan, Paul S. and Tony Proscio. “Introduction,” and “Chapter 4, We Sure as Hell Can Do Better Than This,” Comeback Cities: A Blueprint for Urban Neighborhood Revival, Westview Press, 2001.

In the Introduction and Chapter 4, Grogan and Proscio paint a picture of cities on the cusp of revival. While traditional statistical measures and academic assessments did not, at the time of publication, yield overwhelming evidence of “the comeback of the city,” the authors outline many exciting, yet subtle changes that point to great possibilities for the inner-city communities, and cities as a whole, once dismissed as unsalvageable and hopeless. The authors encourage a move away from what they consider to be overly idealistic visions such as the “the end of poverty” and instead realize that even if all problems are not solved, it is possible to make cities economically viable, good places where people want to live. The chapters include examples of revitalization and turnaround that involve what can often seem unglamorous and less sweeping than such projects as “The War on Poverty,” or “The War on Drugs.” Rather, the factors coming together to change cities involve citizens talking about and acting on problems together, better-designed government programs that leave more room for local control and citizen creativity, increased grassroots activities, dismissal of conventional wisdom about “what is realistic,” increased policing, and extensive networking, communication and corporation between the various levels and players involved. The authors highlight the volatility of these gains, arguing that we must continue to support the work that has gone into changing cities and be aware of policies and actions that could be detrimental to this progress.

Guttman, Amy and Dennis Thompson. “The Practice of Deliberative Democracy,” in Democracy and Disagreement. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1996: 357-361.

Guttman and Thompson argue that deliberation belongs anywhere decisions need to be made and they make a case for where the work of deliberation fits into politics. Where there is moral disagreement over public policy, they argue, citizens should deliberate to find moral agreement or at least develop respect one another in light of their disagreements. The authors develop a concept of deliberative democracy that puts moral reasoning at the center of politics as a means to improve moral argumentation. Deliberative democracy is contrasted with proceduralism and constitutionalism. Three principles regulate the conditions of public deliberation – reciprocity, publicity, and accountability . Another set of three principles refer to the content of deliberation – basic liberty, basic opportunity, and fair opportunity. Case studies are introduced to examine how the conditions of deliberation depend on its content and vice-versa.

Halperin, Morton H., Joseph T. Siegle, and Michael W. Weinstien. “Why Democracies Excel,” Foreign Affairs, September/October 2004.

The authors of this article seek to counter the so-called development-first, democracy-later argument. The authors argue, instead, that democracy can and does flourish in poor countries and that conditions for economic development are much more favorable in democratic countries than in autocratic ones, and further, that quality of life is higher in poor democratic countries, rather than poor autocratic ones. The reason that “poor democracies outperform authoritarian” ones, according to the authors, is that democratic “institutions enable power to be shared and…encourage openness and adaptability” (63). The observe that, while the reasons for supporting democracies would seem to be rather compelling, industrialized democracies and international financial institutions appear not to favor democracies in their aid distribution (even when circumstances such as natural disaster are factored out). The authors close with suggestions as to how democracies and the pursuit of democracy should be favored and considered in policy and funding.

The Harwood Group, “Public Capital: The Dynamic System that Makes Public Life Work,” prepared for the Kettering Foundation by The Harwood Group, April 1996.

This report outlines a framework for thinking about public capital. The authors draw from the experiences of two communities, observed over the period of a year, interviews with those communities’ citizens and leaders, and from an extensive review of literature that contributes to a richer understanding of the potential for development of public capital. The report defines public capital as “the capacities, relationships, networks and linkages” that contribute to a community’s long-term health and sustainability and its ability to work effectively. The research identified nine areas that, when working together, make up the system of public capital. Within these nine areas, three levels were identified. At the “tangible” level, 1) an abundance of social gatherings, 2) organized spaces for interaction, 3) catalytic organizations, and 4) safe havens for decision makers to have “unofficial” candid discussions were each identified as key areas that contribute to and make up public capital. The next level provides the links between the tangible areas of public capital: 1) strong, diverse leadership that exists at all layers of the community, 2) informal networks and links, and 3) conscious community discussion where the community has ample opportunity to think about and sort through its public concerns before taking action. The final, underlying less tangible areas that make up public capital include 1) shared community norms for public life, and 2) a shared purpose for the community that conveys a sense of “we’re all in this together.” The report closes with an outline of principles that emerged from the work that can contribute to developing and sustaining public capital in communities.

Harwood, Richard. “Chapter 2, The Waiting Place,” Hope Unraveled: The People’s Retreat and Our Way Back, Dayton, OH: The Kettering Foundation Press, 2005

Chapter 2 of Hope Unraveled paints of picture of “a point in our collective history in which people see politics and public life as being stuck.” Harwood calls this place the “waiting place,” and goes on to describe a public with very unsure footing about where it stands or how to get where it needs to go. The author touches on four key concerns, what he calls, “broken covenants”: 1) The loss of faith in the American dream; that is, the realization that if you work hard and get a good education, this does not always lead to basic economic and community stability; 2) “The free-for-all on basic values”; those he spoke with expressed concern that children were not being raised well, people were not willing to sacrifice enough for others, nor is there an adequate ethic of hard work and perseverance; 3) “Materialism and consumerism run amuck” where the role of citizen and consumer become conflated; and 4) The breakdown in community, where people feel isolated and increasingly disconnected. Harwood conveys a sense of disconnectedness not only among citizens, but between citizens and their institutions. In particular, he touches on the great sense of distrust that citizens voice about the government, politicians and the media, and an overwhelming sentiment that “the reality” that politicians and the media portray bears little resemblance to the everyday reality of citizens. It is not the solving of particular problems or the promotion of narrow interests that, Harwood suggests, can begin to bring together our unraveled society, but rather it is the knitting together of a “good society;” one that more accurately reflects people’s “best instincts and values” that has the potential to create a politics that works everyday people.

Harwood, Richard, “The Engagement Path: The Realities of How People Engage Over Time – and the Possibilities for Re-engaging Americans,” The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, October 2003.

Harwood identified four steps on “the engagement path.” The report argues that people are satisfying two fundamental human needs through engagement – first, to make sense of the world, and second, to find a sense of hope or possibility. Thus, engagement can be understood as a natural outgrowth of these basic needs. Deliberation is the final stage in the engagement path, following the personal realm, nascent talk, and discovery. Along this path, Harwood identifies “inflection points,” which are the challenges that inevitably arise on the engagement path. The report also identifies “engagement markers” which can be used to indicate that progress is being made along the path. The report argues that deliberation is one among several ways of engagement. A common pitfall for many who would like to see a reinvigoration of public life is that they assume that people begin ready for the deliberative stage of the engagement path, rather than heeding the several stages that must precede it.

Harwood, Richard. “Chapter 2, The Waiting Place,” Hope Unraveled: The People’s Retreat and Our Way Back, Dayton, OH: The Kettering Foundation Press, 2005

Chapter 2 of Hope Unraveled paints of picture of “a point in our collective history in which people see politics and public life as being stuck.” Harwood calls this place the “waiting place,” and goes on to describe a public with very unsure footing about where it stands or how to get where it needs to go. The author touches on four key concerns, what he calls, “broken covenants”: 1) The loss of faith in the American dream; that is, the realization that if you work hard and get a good education, this does not always lead to basic economic and community stability; 2) “The free-for-all on basic values”; those he spoke with expressed concern that children were not being raised well, people were not willing to sacrifice enough for others, nor is there an adequate ethic of hard work and perseverance; 3) “Materialism and consumerism run amuck” where the role of citizen and consumer become conflated; and 4) The breakdown in community, where people feel isolated and increasingly disconnected. Harwood conveys a sense of disconnectedness not only among citizens, but between citizens and their institutions. In particular, he touches on the great sense of distrust that citizens voice about the government, politicians and the media, and an overwhelming sentiment that “the reality” that politicians and the media portray bears little resemblance to the everyday reality of citizens. It is not the solving of particular problems or the promotion of narrow interests that, Harwood suggests, can begin to bring together our unraveled society, but rather it is the knitting together of a “good society;” one that more accurately reflects people’s “best instincts and values” that has the potential to create a politics that works everyday people.

Hill, Michael. “Katrina Shows that it Takes a Community,” The Baltimore Sun, September 11, 2005.

This article highlights the need for citizens and government not only to react to disasters, but the importance of acting together as a public prior to acute problems that require everyone to do their share. In short, it points out the need for everyone to be engaged in public problems (such as assuring that a levee is secure before a hurricane hits) rather than an undue focus on our individual lives and problems.

Huntington, Samuel P. “The Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs 72(3), Summer 1993.

This article, which was followed by the bestselling 1996 book, The Clash of Civilization and the Remaking of World Order, argues that “Western ideas of individualism, liberalism, constitutionalism, human rights, equality, liberty, the rule of law, democracy, free markets, the separation of church and state, often have little resonance in Islamic, Confucian, Japanese, Hindu, Buddhist or Orthodox cultures.” Huntington posits that “Western” is best used to describe things European, (U.S.) American, and Canadian. He argues that there are eight civilizations (Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American and African) and that while these non-Western civilizations will modernize (like the West and Japan have already done), they will not Westernize or democratize, as that this is fundamentally opposed to the values and self-understandings of these civilizations. (In his 1996 book, Huntington allowed that Latin American civilization has the potential for functioning and legitimate democratic governments and institutions.) He further suggests that to attempt to promote democracy and Western values in these countries is culturally imperialistic and arrogant. Huntington proposes that Western civilization accept this reality and prepare accordingly by strengthening itself militarily, developing “greater cooperation and unity within its own civilization”, incorporating willing Eastern European and Latin American countries into the West, and by “strengthen[ing] international institutions that reflect and legitimate Western interests and values and [by] promot[ing] the involvement of non-Western states in those institutions.” In short, Huntington understands democracy to be a uniquely Western institution with little resonance with or potential in other civilizations. The primary aim of the West should be to protect our democratic institutions and way of life, rather than to attempt to impose the values of our civilization (democracy, liberalism, etc.) on other civilizations. (Note from Elizabeth – I happen to think that Huntington’s class of civilizations idea is thinly veiled racism. That said, it is a relevent article to this bibliography even though I really strongly dislike Huntington and his ideas.)

Ignatieff, Michael, “Democratic Providentialism” New York Times Magazine, December 12, 2004.

Ignatieff asserts that democratic providentialism describes George W. Bush’s vision for the world. Democratic providentialism is the idea that democracy is “God’s gift to mankind.” Ignatieff argues that this idea catapulted the President to re-election, was a main justification for the Iraq War and is a popular mainstay with his core, conservative constituencies. However, Ignatieff notes that while the Bush Administration may have grandiose ambitions for the proliferation of democracy in the Muslim world, only citizens within Islamic states can fulfill these ambitions. In a way, “democratic providentialism feeds the illusion that America is the driver of world history.” Ignatieff cautions that while “America has power and should use it, … history does not always serve American grand designs.” Ignatieff concludes that in order for Bush’s democratic providentialism to be successful, Iraq must be a success and the providentialism that Bush speaks of must resonate beyond Bush’s electoral constituencies to a wider, more diverse audience.

Ikenberry, John G. “Why Export Democracy?” Wilson Quarterly, vol. 23, no. 2, Spring 1999: 56-65.

In this article, Ikenberry argues that the promotion of democracy is not, as critics would argue, misguided idealism, but rather “reflects a pragmatic, evolving, and sophisticated understanding of how to create a stable and relatively peaceful world order.” The author outlines five reasons that he believes this to be so. First, democracies are less like to go to war – Ikenberry calls this “the amity of democracies.” Second, the author argues that there is a correlation between democratic rule and economic prosperity. To promote democracy abroad is, thus, in the economic self-interest of the United States. Third, democracy promotes interdependence which is both economically beneficial and politically stabilizing. Fourth, as alluded to earlier, democracies join, support, and generally respect the norms required by multilateral institutions. Institutions “can help overcome and integrate diverse and competing interests- states, regions, classes and religions and ethnic groups.” Finally, the promotion of democracy is important because it creates a sense of community and common identity, both “important source[s] of order.” As Ikenberry points out, “It’s not only that politically similar states are more likely to understand each other, but that their values are liberal and democratic, which creates common norms about how to resolve conflicts.” The author closes by noting that it is quite possible that the United States has been overly optimistic about the possibilities of promoting democracy abroad, but that this does not take away from the coherence of such a strategy or reduce the need for such promotion.

Kaplan, Robert D. “Was Democracy Just A Moment?” Atlantic Monthly, vol. 280, no.6, December 1997, 55-80.

Kaplan argues that “democracy emerges successfully only as a capstone to other social and economic achievements.” The author cites many instances where democracies are not yielding positive results for its citizens (like South Africa…“one of the most violent places on earth [that isn’t] a war zone”) or instances where authoritarian rule has produced positive results (like Fujimori’s rule in Peru where “it is hard to argue that Peru has not benefited from his rule”). In the latter part of the article, Kaplan suggests that “while we preach our version of democracy abroad, it slips away from us at home” (72). He cites the increasing power of corporations and the decreasing relevance of governments (“Democratic governance, at the federal, state, and local level goes on. But its ability to affect our lives is limited.”) Kaplan laments the developed world’s focus (and, in particular, that of the United States) on material possessions and suggests that this inward focus on acquiring things detracts from a sense of community or togetherness that is essential for a functioning democracy. The author closes with a warning that should the West fail to ignore the challenges and threats to our “crowning political achievement” of democracy, we are likely to face the fate of earlier civilizations that thought themselves to represent the end of history or the culmination of civilization.

McAfee, Noelle. “Three Models of Deliberation,” Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 18(1), 2004.

McAfee argues that deliberation means different things within different philosophical traditions and these contrasting meanings have implications for the practice of democratic politics. McAfee outlines three conceptions of deliberation – the preference based model (social science, deliberative polling), the rationalist proceduralist model (Habermas, Rawls), and the integrative model (Dewey). The third model “aims for integration of multiple, heterogeneous views…in this model, citizens’ partial perspectives can be integrated into a viable, sound policy choice…” (53).

Melville Keith, “Putting Deliberative Democracy to the Test,” (forthcoming)

Using various studies and the experiences of the National Issues Convention, Melville seeks to counter the critiques that skeptics of deliberation put forth which typically argue that deliberative democratic practices are neither practical nor possible in the modern developed democratic nation-state. Melville systematically counters five assertions to which critics continually return. Assertion 1: Most people won’t participate in deliberative events because the general public is too apathetic. Melville notes, however, that a 2003 study shows, “using a fairly strict definition of deliberation,” that nearly 70 million Americans had attended a meeting to discuss a public issue (11). Assertion 2: Most citizens are not well enough informed to be able to meaningfully deliberate on the complex issues that face the world today. Melville counters that briefing material that is clear, non-partisan, and as neutral as possible is often adequate that inform citizens on complex issues so that they can meaningfully deliberate the issue. Assertion 3: Deliberation has not been adequately defined, thus we can’t really determine when it is taking place. Assertion 4: Citizens aren’t capable of truly taking others into account and arriving at collective public judgment. However, we see that “there is considerable evidence that self-interest is neither inevitable nor all-pervasive.” In deliberative talk, “disagreements are often the starting point, but not the final outcome. As people [take] in the perspective of others…the emphasis [shifts]…toward common values” (19). Assertion 5: Deliberative democratic participation does not have any long-term effect on either individuals or communities. Melville notes, though, participation in deliberation gives people a sense of being a part of something bigger and that often participants begin to “envision a role for themselves as citizens who can act in specific ways and engage in collective action” (23).

Moore, Suzanne. “Practicing Democracy: How Communities Come Together to Solve Problems,” Summer 2004.

Moore examines and writes about four communities which have taken up the practice of deliberation and made it a part of everyday community life. As Moore notes, “public deliberation, we know from generations of examples, among people in a community helps solve problems – clear and simple.” We see, from a survey commissioned by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change in 2002, that Americans are both ready and willing to get involved in order to improve their communities. Two barriers to this, however, are that 1) citizens are not sufficiently aware of the nature or extent of problems in their own communities – the “it isn’t happening in our town” syndrome and 2) citizens are not clear on the first step that they should take in order to get involved – that is, who or what organization to contact. Moore also points out that, often, there is no “place, space, or convener to allow citizens to come together” (33). But, in the communities that Moor visited and writes about, she found that, when public deliberation and action do work, there are two characteristics. First, there is “a vehicle to engage citizens in real issues in real time,” and, second, there is “a process for action.” When communities demonstrated these two characteristics, “without exception” were they able to have more success in addressing problems efficiently.

Lewin Kurt, “Group Decision and Social Change,” in Readings in Social Psychology, Guy E. Swanson, Theodore M. Newcomb, and Eugene L. Hartley, eds., Henry Holt and Company, 1952: 459-473.

Lewin observes that the most effective means of changing social behavior is by “unfreezing” people’s views of a given social standard through group discussion of alternative proposals, moving to a different level of social conduct, and “freezing” the new social conduct with a decision. Lewin argues that decision and assessment depend on the perceptions of people, that these perceptions can be influenced, and that correct perception of social action is essential for additional action. Some social standards are habitual and more resistant to change than others — if resistance to change depends on the individuals adherence to group standards, one should diminish the strength of the group standard. The most effective means of reaching this goal is by groups of people discussing a proposal, expressing their thoughts and opinions, and then making a decision.

Nye, Joseph. “The Decline of America’s Soft Power: Why Washington Should Worry,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 2004.

Nye makes the argument that the United States’ soft power is declining and that, to the detriment of the United States’ interests, the government is not taking appropriate action to stop such a decline. Nye defines soft power as the “ability to attract others by the legitimacy of…polices and the values that underlie them” (16). Nye posits that after the Cold War there was a sense that soft power was less important because the United States became the world’s sole superpower. Nye points out that the current Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, says that he does not even understand what the term “soft power” means. Critics such as Rumsfeld hold the belief that “the United States…is strong enough to do as it wishes with or without the world’s approval and should simply accept that others will envy and resent it” (16). While Nye accepts that the United States will not be able to completely avoid resentment and antagonism, the main thesis of his article is that the United States should take more seriously the benefits soft power. He notes, “it is not just a matter of ephemeral popularity; it is a means of obtaining outcomes the United States wants” (17). Nye highlights, in particular, the value of soft power in fighting terrorism, arguing that it is only when we seek to understand and speak to the concerns of the moderate Islamic world, attracting them based on the legitimacy of our policies and the values that underlie those policies, that we will stem the tide of Islamist extremism.

Peceny, Mark. “Forcing Them to be Free,” Political Research Quarterly, vol. 52, no. 3, September 1999: 549-582.

This article asks if U.S. military intervention is helpful in promoting democracy in previously undemocratic countries. Peceny examined 90 cases of U.S. military intervention from 1898 through 1992 and used the Polity III data set to measure democracy (quantitative analysis). The author concludes that while U.S. military intervention in and of itself has little or no impact on the establishment of democratic rule, an active effort and support for “free and fair elections” during such military interventions does have a positive effect on the building of democracies. Peceny notes that further questions that future research might address. 1) What impact the promotion of “free and fair” elections might have when the United States undertakes such efforts in the absence of military power? 2) What are the relative contributions of the U.S. as compared to other countries that participated in the military interventions examined in this study? The author notes that most interventions were multilateral and that other countries contributed to the promotion of “free and fair” elections. Further, Peceny suggests that, along these lines, it is important to explore the contributions of and potential of the U.N. and other international organizations in terms of the potential for the promotion of free and fair elections and the track record on such endeavors.

Pew Partnership for Civic Change. “What will it take? Making Headway on Our Most Wrenching Problems,” Summary, Charlotesville, VA: University of Richmond, 2003.

Pew’s study highlights the willingness of most citizens to be more active in their communities in response to the most pressing needs. The survey shows, however, that most citizens are fundamentally disconnected to the actual needs of their community and not clear about or comfortable with the ways to go about getting involved. The non-profit executives interviewed for the study make clear that higher levels of volunteerism would be beneficial to their organizations as they seek to address what they tend to characterize as serious problems in communities related to illiteracy, education, housing, and crime and safety. This study highlights both the pressing needs that communities have, citizens’ general optimism about the future of their communities (perhaps citizens’ overly optimistic views), and the willingness of non-profit organizations to involve more members of the communities in addressing “wicked” problems.

Posner, Richard. “Introduction,” and “Two Concepts of Democracy” (ch. 4) in Law, Pragmatism and Democracy. Harvard University Press, 2003:

According to the author, “drawing out the implications of everyday pragmatism for adjudication and political governance and thus for legal positivism and for democracy, is the principal undertaking of this book” (13). The author believes that deliberative democracy (which he terms Concept 1 democracy) is neither pragmatic, nor is it really as public-oriented as its leading theorist and promoters claim that it is. Rather, Posner argues that deliberative democracy is a lofty, mostly academic invention where citizens are asked to participate in time-consuming and high-minded moral reasoning. Concept 2 democracy, on the other hand, is pragmatic in that it accepts that citizens are generally apathetic and uniformed and suggests that, given this situation which is not likely to change, it is not only acceptable, but preferable that citizens simply elect leaders who will be able to make more informed decisions.

Powell, Colin, “No Country Left Behind,” Foreign Policy, January/February 2005: 28-35.

Powell argues that U.S. economic development efforts around the world are not only an instrument of soft power, “but a core national security issue” (28). He posits that economic development (foreign aid) efforts are successful when paired with an incentive system for good governance. Such a structure, embodied in the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) program, is meant to encourage democracy within poor countries. Powell argues that the U.S. government can promote democracy (and fight terrorism) by spurring democratic practice around the world through such programs. Poverty does not breed support for terrorist causes, Powell contends, internal social injustice and political oppression does. Thus, focused, market-based economic development strategies will not only provide necessary infrastructure for poor countries, it will also provide a necessary political tool against terrorism. The goal of eradicating poverty and promoting democratic practices through economic development, Powell concludes, serves not only to improve the lives of people in poor countries, but also creates a more stable world for Americans (35).

Potapchuk, William R. “Building Sustainable Community Politics: Synergizing Participatory, Institutional, And Representative Democracy,” National Civic Review, Fall96 85(3).

In this article, Potapchuk seeks to move past the discussion of community politics as primarily about citizen participation and reframe it as the synergizing of multiple institutions including governments, boards, businesses, and nonprofits. The author suggests an increased emphasis on the cooperation and citizen-led bridge-building between such groups and that this is necessary for sustained community development and transformation that is capable of taking on the most pressing problems of our time.

Potapchuck, Bill. Chapter on Hampton, VA in The Public Deliberation Manual, Gastil and Levine, eds. Forthcoming.

Potapchuck tells the story of Hampton, Virginia, a city that has integrated deliberation and collaboration into the every-day business of government and citizenship. Deliberation began to become embedded in this community in the 1980s when the city began to update the city’s Comprehensive Plan. In reaction to citizen anger over the proposal to construct a new road, the city gathered interested citizens and got training in collaborative problem solving. The group citizens group worked with the city on the Comprehensive Plan and the city realized, “that deliberative and collaborative planning with active citizen participation actually created better plans” (16). Potapchuck walks the reader through the evolution of a city like any other city, to a city where deliberation on public issues is structural. Deliberation isn’t an event, but a way of life for this city. The author lays out the specific ways in which Hampton has fostered a spirit of community and mutual responsibility, and the challenges that the city has faced along the way.

Ryfe, David. “The Practice of Public Dialogue: A Study of Sixteen Discourse Organizations,” in Public Discourse in America, Roden and Steinberg eds. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003: 185-200.

Reviews sixteen discourse organizations, reviews how they approach their work, what such organizations know and don’t know, and suggests future directions for research in this area. As in other articles, the author paints a nuanced picture of deliberation where it seems to produce positive effects in some situations for some parts of the population, but lacks the long-term empirical studies which would demonstrate this definitely.

Samuelson, Robert J. “How Polarization Sells,” The Washington Post, June 30, 2004.

Samuelson critiques politicians and political commentators for inflaming and agitating differences and prejudices, rather than seeking to find middle ground or foster understanding, as the vast majority of citizens would likely prefer since those who actually subscribe to the highly polarized ideologies are small on both sides of the political spectrum. He argues that politicians, political commentators, and the media seek to polarize the public and present a polarized public because it serves their own ends – it makes their “base” feel good about the moral superiority of their position and the “fanatical” nature of the position of the other “side.” However, it is not a polarized public that we have, Samuelson argues, but polarized politics. The result, he notes, “is a growing disconnect between politics – and political commentary – and ordinary life.” He suggests that “politics should,” instead, “reflect and, at its best, conciliate the nation’s differences.”

Sen, Amartya “Democracy as a Universal Value,” Journal of Democracy, vol. 10, no. 3, July 1999: 3-17.

Sen addresses several issues central to examining the spread and promotion of democracy across the globe, particularly to so-called non-Western countries. One of the most frequently expressed concerns about the “export” of democracy is to what extent this is a form of Western cultural imperialism and/or if the promotion of democracy in non-Western countries necessarily equals the promotion of so-called Western values? Sen addresses these questions by pointing out the traditions of democratic practice across a wide range of cultures and civilizations, and argues that to conceive of democracy as the domain of the West is inaccurate at best. He also problematizes the notion that “Western” culture is a direct descendent of the Greek democratic tradition or somehow “more” descended from this tradition than so-called non-Western cultures. Sen suggests that one of the reasons that democracy has been inaccurately understood to be more “Western” is the proliferation of a narrow understanding of democracy that is conceived of “exclusively in terms of public balloting” (29). While voting has become an important part of a functioning democracy, Sen argues that democracy is best understood in much broader terms. Rawls calls this “the exercise of public reason” and Buchanan, “government by discussion.” Sen posits that, when we understand democracy in these broader, richer terms, and when we are sufficiently aware of the diverse and multifaceted roots of democracy, it becomes clear that far from a “Western” concept, democracy is a universal value.

Schifter, Richard. “The Cause of Freedom: Nobody’s Monopoly,” Mediterranean Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 3, Summer 1997: 6-20.

Schifter’s article is a rebuttal of Samuel Huntington’s thesis as outlined in his 1993 article “The Clash of Civilizations?” and 1996 book, The Clash of Civilization and the Remaking of World Order. Schifter argues that current U.S. foreign policy is based on the argument that “democracy, the rule of law, and human rights have universal applicability [and] that they are ideas that can be transmitted across cultural divides,” premises that Huntington challenges. Schifter problematizes Huntington’s claim that that democracy and Western civilization’s roots can be traced linearly back to the Holy Roman Empire. Schifter argues, instead, that democracy has begun to thrive only relatively recently, has been influenced by a myriad of cultures, and has the potential to take root in non-Western cultures over time, just as it took root in Western cultures over time. He cites many examples of previously undemocratic non-Western nations and leaders who, after exposure to democratic ideas, took steps toward democratic practice and government, and in many cases remain on the path to democratic self-government. While Schifter acknowledges that “post-Renaissance and post-reformation West provided…hospitable soil for the gestation of the seed of liberal democracy,” he closes with a reiteration of his main point: democracy has been and can be successfully spread to non-Western countries and the United States should continue to pursue these ends via its policies.

Skocpol, Theda. “Advocates without Members: The Recent Transformation of American Civic Life,” in Civic Engagement in American Democracy, Theda Skocpol and Morris Fiorina, The Brookings Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 1999: 461-509.

This chapter analyzes the causes and consequences of the recent shift in American civic life from membership to advocacy. Skocpol argues that this transition is irreversible and that it is important to understand in order to see what the future of civic association might look like. It focuses on how the organization of voluntary civic groups has changed and how they relate to government, politics, and community affairs. The chapter consists of three parts. Part one examines the shift from membership to advocacy on the organizational level. Part two attributes this transformation to a variety of factors: changes in racial and gender understandings, modifications in the political opportunity structure, new techniques and models for building organizations, and changes in class relations. The final part discusses how these associational changes affect democracy, concluding that in order to rejuvenate democracy, the US needs to revitalize associations and adapt them to a changing political system.

Skopol, Theda. Diminished Democracy, Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2003.

Skopol argues that American democracy has diminished in the sense that the “civic world” is less participatory and “more oligarchically managed” (11) than in the past, and to its detriment. She notes that the “shift from membership-based voluntary associations to managerially-directed advocacy groups and civic institutions,” is problematic in that citizens are practically doling out their civic duty to organizations to which they donate, and whose causes are very specific, discounting the value of all voices when they are in conversation. She suggests electoral reform, the assumption of more responsibility for the health of civic life by the media, and the revival of the network model for organizations – where there is a central organization with chapters. Although “sustained infrastructure building,” is more time-consuming and difficult for organizations than just setting up a headquarters, doing mass mailings and hiring lobbyists, can, in the long run, have a greater impact on the issues that are important to the organization and they are more healthy for democracy as a whole. Skopol closes with a bottom line: she may not have the “answers” to the revitalization of democracy in American, but it is not something that we find separately, as individuals, or by writing checks to organizations. It is something that we must find out, as our forbearers did, together, by trial and error and by getting involved.

Stackhouse, Max L. “Public Theology and Democracy’s Future,” Society, March/April 2005.

In this article, Stackhouse raises questions about the fundamental moral and theological groundings of democracy and human rights. He argues that there is an ontological basis for both democratic principles and human rights, invoking both Huntington, who argues that these are unique to and based on the (Protestant) heritage of the “West”, and Michael Perry who argues that the idea of human rights is necessarily religious in nature. Stackhouse posits that the “Judeo-Christian tradition” is particularly suited to sustain democracy, whereas, for instance, democracy faltered in ancient Greece because of its inability to “sustain a moral core.” He makes clear that while each person has an “ultimate reality…some [ultimate realities] are more capable of supporting conditions under which democracy flourishes than others.” Stackhouse calls for the underlying (Christian) religious principles of democracy to be articulated more clearly in the form of a (more) public theology. Further, in terms of promoting democracy among non-“Judeo-Christian” peoples and lands, he suggests that we “find out whether [the great world religions] have comparable concepts and prospects and where they may be able to adjust such motifs for the emerging global civil society.”

Sullivan, William. “Introduction: The Importance of Being Professional,” and Chapter 8, “Experts and Citizens: The Promise of Professional Life,” Work and Integrity: The Crisis and Promise of Professionalism in America, Harpercollins, 1995.

Sullivan argues that, in the face of globalization and what seems to be its self-perpetuating presence and influence that is, in many ways, out of our control in a literal sense, there is a need for a renewed understanding of professionalism in order to balance or counter these forces that do not sufficiently take into account the good of all. If, Sullivan posits, we understand professionalism as a civic art, rather than just one more part of the economic system where we seek to maximize our own wealth, we will make the world a better place to live for ourselves and for others. There are limits, Sullivan notes, to the good and the ability of technological innovations or “economic progress” to improve the human condition. He closes with a sentence that summarizes why a professionalism should be understood as civic rather than purely economic: “what makes one free and renders life worth living is finally neither satisfying one’s desires nor accomplishing one’s purposes, valuable as these are, but learning to act with the good of the whole view, building life act by act, happy if each deed, as far as circumstances allow, fulfills its proper end” (237). Sullivan believes that by understanding our professional life in civic terms we can contribute to the above stated ideal.

Thompson, Richelle. “Cincinnati’s Riots One Year Later,” The Cincinnati Enquirer, April 7, 2002.

Nearly 2100 people of varying backgrounds and neighborhoods participated in the Neighbor to Neighbor program where community members gathered to talk about and to face the often-touchy issue of race. This article gives an account of the Neighbor to Neighbor program that Cincinnati’s citizens undertook after 2001 riots caused by a police-shooting. Those who participated found that, although there were some things that they did not agree on, there were a lot of things that they did agree on. As Janet Metzelaar who led some of the meetings notes, “We have a lot of opinions, but the solution comes down to, ‘Do unto others as you would have them to do you.”

Tierney, John. “The Nation: On Message; A Nation Divided? Who Says?” The New York Times, June 13, 2004.

This article echoes the themes in One Nation, After All, and Culture Wars. Tierney notes that it is not the American electorate that is highly polarized, as politicians and the media would have us believe, but rather it is “a myth created by people inside the Beltway talking to each other or, more precisely, shouting at each other.” The red/blue state phenomena, where a state is either/or, masks the fact that residents in these states are nuanced about the issues that they care about and, in fact, that “gaps among groups have been constant or shrinking for the past three decades.” They have not, however, been increasing. The redrawing of district lines to be heavily democratic or heavily republican has contributed to the polarization of political elites, although the public in general has gotten closer, rather than farther, away from each other in terms of beliefs and areas of agreement. This is for two reasons, first, the redrawing of district lines so that a district is heavily republican or democrat relieves the candidate of having to campaign hard in his or her district and results in less responsiveness to constituents. Secondly, because the districts so heavily favor one party, candidates have less of a need to reach out to voters “on the other side” of the political spectrum and don’t modify their positions accordingly.

Vanhanen, Tatu. “Introduction,” “Debate on the causes of Democratization,” (ch. 1) and “Measures of Democracy,” (ch. 3) in Democratization: A Comparative Analysis of 170 Countries, New York, NY: Routledge, 2003.

In his introduction, Vanhanen expresses his fascination with Lipset’s seminal work related to economic development and its influence on democratization. Although, Vanhanen’s findings do not concur completely with Lipset’s, Lipset’s work offered Vanhanen “the idea that democracy is systematically related to measurable social structures and conditions” (1). Through his years of research on democratization, Vanhanen concluded that “the success of democracy presuppose[s] the distribution of economic and intellectual power among various social groups and their elites rather than [as Lipset argued] a high level of economic development.” Chapter 1, “Measures of Democracy,” provides a concise yet thorough overview of the range of theories that seek to explain what conditions are favorable to democratization, what factors bring about democratization, and in what circumstances democracy takes hold and flourishes. Vanhanen discusses the theories of Huntington, someone, someone, and someone among others. In Chapter 3, “Measures of Democracy,” Vanhanen offers an overview of the various ways that democracy has been and can be measured. He also deals with the challenge of defining democracy – often the word refers to different empirical phenomena and/or is used in ways that differ philosophically. This chapter favors understandings of democracy that can be measured, and the final part of the chapter focuses heavily on Vanhanen’s own methodology. Nonetheless, it is a broad yet concise overview of the various ways that democracy is being and can be conceived of, particularly in terms of its potential in autocratic or semi-democratic countries.

Warren, Mark R. “Introduction” and “Chapter 1, Community Building and Political Renewal,” in Dry Bones Rattling : Community Building to Revitalize American Democracy (Princeton Studies in American Politics), Princeton University Press, 2001.

Warren’s study of Texas IAF highlights the potential (and some pitfalls) of relational organizing. We see that the Texas IAF (and IAFs in general) tend to emphasize patient, steady, sustainable change built on a foundation of organizations and individuals that know and trust each other. This approach highlights both the “social capital” oriented approach of the work, but also acknowledges that people are not gathering only to share coffee, backyard cookouts and to borrow the occasional cup of sugar. There is the explicit acknowledgement that the relationships and trust is being nurtured with the aim of increased political power and efficacy in order to take on some of the most pressing problems underprivileged communities face.

West, Cornell. “Democracy Matters are Frightening in Our Time,” in Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism, New York, NY: The Penguin Press, 2004: 1-23.

Here West argues that “[t]here is a deeply troubling deterioration of democratic powers in America today,” and that there are three dogmas that are significant contributing factors to this deterioration. The first of these dogmas is free-market fundamentalism which “trivializes the concern for public interest,” and instead glorifies materialism, negatively and deeply influences politics, and dismisses important institutions and concerns that do not fit into the market’s narrow framework that values only what can be bought and sold for profit. The second dogma is aggressive militarism. West argues that “this dogma posits military might as salvific in a world in which he who has the most and biggest weapons is the most moral and masculine, hence worthy of policing others.” The final dogma that West points out is authoritarianism, and he links this to the increase in fear following the 9/11 attacks. He also also argues that increased authoritarianism has resulted in the silencing of dissenting or questioning voices. “The major problem,” he writes, “is not the vociferous shouting from one camp to the other; rather it is that many have given up even being heard.” In order to move toward regaining and strengthening the democratic tradition of the United States, West outlines three “crucial traditions” that “fuel deep democratic energies.” The first is a Socratic commitment to questioning, the second, a prophetic commitment to justice for all peoples, and the third, is a commitment to hope even in the face of difficulties that seem overwhelming and insurmountable. He closes with a reminder that “the basis of democratic leadership is ordinary citizens’ desire to take their country back,” and calls on readers to “work and hope” for a democratic awakening that has periodically renewed the U.S. commitment to “the American democratic experiment.”

Wolfe, Alan. “Morality Writ Small,” in One Nation, After All : What Americans Really Think About God, Country, Family, Racism, Welfare, Immigration, Homosexuality, Work, The Right, The Left and Each Other, Penguin Books, 1999.

Wolfe’s book is based on two-hundred interviews with middle-class people in the United States. In the final chapter of his book, Alan Wolfe concludes that the so-called “culture war” is being fought, not by average Americans, but primarily by intellectuals. He points out that the polling which appears to show a divided populace, asks questions in such a way that leaves no room for the expression of a middle-ground. It is on this middle ground, a place of firm but empathetic morality, where Wolfe argues that the vast majority of Americans stand. With the exception of homosexuality, there is wide agreement on immigration, poverty, religion, family and morality. Wolfe notes, “The two sides presumed to be fighting the culture war do not so much represent a divide between one group of Americans and another as a divide between sets of values important to everyone.” That is, middle-class Americans, on the whole, struggle with the same sets of issues and, while often having personal preference for their own lives, are highly tolerant, empathetic and surprisingly undivided as to how other can morally live their lives in the American context.

Zakaria, Fareed. “The Rise of Illiberal Democracy,” Foreign Affairs, vol. 76, no. 6, November/December 1997: 22-43.

Zakaria seeks to distinguish liberal constitutional government from democracy. Although liberal constitutional rule is often conflated with democracy, Zakaria reminds us that a liberal government “draws on the philosophical strain beginning with the Greeks, that emphasizes individual liberty,” and constitutional government “rests on the tradition, beginning with the Romans, of the Rule of law” (26). According to Samuel Huntington, whom the author quotes and apparently agrees with, “Elections, open, free and fair, are the essence of democracy, the inescapable sine qua non. Governments produced by elections may be inefficient, corrupt, shortsighted, irresponsible, dominated by special interests, and incapable of adopting polices demanded by the public good. These qualities make such governments undesirable by do not make them undemocratic” (25). Zakaria puts forth that the rise of illiberal democracy is an increasing problem in the world today. He cites several examples of democratically elected leadership that is far from a liberal constitutional government and poses serious threats to freedom, human rights, and self-rule (for instance, Iran and Peru). Through tracing the history of both democracy and liberal constitutionalism, Zakaria demonstrates that liberalism that precedes democracy tends to transition well to liberal democratic rule, but that the reverse – the move from democracy and then to liberalism – has a much less impressive track record and is cause for concern. In terms of promoting liberal constitutional democracy, the author suggests that, while elections are important, it is important to “promote a wide array of measures designed to bolster constitutional liberalism in developing countries” (40), and, in fact, sometimes efforts that focus on measures not related to elections are more productive than election-focused efforts.


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  3. […] by elizabeth199 on April 8th, 2007 I like to compile good bibliographies. I’ve posted one on democracy and one on queer theology. Clearly they are not in finished form. Now I add Sexual Purity (in a […]

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