By Ben Berger
Handwringing approximately political apathy is as outdated as democracy itself. As early as 425 BC, the playwright Aristophanes ridiculed his fellow Athenians for gossiping out there rather than vote casting. in additional fresh a long time, demands better civic engagement as a democratic cure-all have met with frequent contract. yet how realistic--or helpful--is it to anticipate electorate to dedicate extra consciousness and effort to politics? In Attention Deficit Democracy, Ben Berger offers a stunning new point of view at the challenge of civic engagement, hard idealists who aspire to revolutionize democracies and their voters, but in addition taking factor with cynics who imagine that voters cannot--and desire not--do better.
"Civic engagement" has turn into an unwieldy and complicated catchall, Berger argues. we must always speak rather than political, social, and ethical engagement, realizing which forms of engagement make democracy paintings greater, and the way we'd advertise them. concentrating on political engagement and taking Alexis de Tocqueville and Hannah Arendt as his publications, Berger identifies how you can in achieving the political engagement we'd like and wish with out resorting to coercive measures reminiscent of obligatory nationwide carrier or vital voting.
by way of delivering a practical account of the price of political engagement and functional recommendations for bettering it, whereas averting proposals we will be able to by no means wish to accomplish, Attention Deficit Democracy makes a persuasive case for a public philosophy that a lot of the general public can truly endorse.
Attention Deficit Democracy: the anomaly of civic engagement has been named the Winner of the NASSP (North American Society for Social Philosophy) 2012 booklet Award because the most sensible social philosophy publication released in 2011. earlier winners comprise Amartya Sen, G.A. Cohen, Will Kymlicka and Seyla Benhabib.
It used to be additionally named one of many best 10 Nonfiction Books of 2011 by way of Zocalo Public sq., a venture of the heart for Social unity.
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Extra resources for Attention Deficit Democracy: The Paradox of Civic Engagement
Engagement connotes intensive interaction, which almost everyone wants to promote in some capacity—witness the recently coined terms community engagement, psychological engagement, academic engagement, consumer engagement, corporate engagement, and even digital engagement. More specifically, engagement connotes activity and attention, an investment of energy and a consciousness of purpose. But because we can use engagement in three related but different senses the term invites its own kind of conceptual stretching.
11 I do not contest these claims’ underlying logic. The personal or private can indeed be political, if and when citizens seek to express personal decisions or influence previously “private” issues through the polity’s organs: political processes and institutions. 12 They might be of intense interest to political scientists and political theorists, but we should not conflate them with attentive activity that directly engages political processes and institutions if we care about establishing a coherent, far-reaching dialogue across academic disciplines.
More specifically, engagement connotes activity and attention, an investment of energy and a consciousness of purpose. But because we can use engagement in three related but different senses the term invites its own kind of conceptual stretching. That stretching has contributed to civic engagement’s distortion, but it need not hinder future studies of political, social, and moral engagement if scholars and citizens pay attention to the distinct senses and their appropriate uses. Engage, used as a transitive verb, conveys an impression of interactivity, entanglement, and commitment of resources (with energy and attention the resources most often in play).