Citizen Competence and Democratic Institutions

Citizen Competence and Democratic Institutions

Citizen Competence and Democratic Institutions

Citizen Competence and Democratic Institutions

Synopsis

A searching examination of what citizen competence is, how much it exists in the United States today, and what can be done to increase it.

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

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

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

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