Do-It-Yourself Democracy: The Rise of the Public Engagement Industry by Caroline W. LeeDo-It-Yourself Democracy: The Rise of the Public Engagement Industry by Caroline W. Lee

Do-It-Yourself Democracy: The Rise of the Public Engagement Industry

byCaroline W. Lee

Hardcover | January 16, 2015

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Citizen participation has undergone a radical shift since anxieties about "bowling alone" seized the nation in the 1990s. Many pundits and observers have cheered America's twenty-first century civic renaissance - an explosion of participatory innovations in public life. Invitations to "haveyour say!" and "join the discussion!" have proliferated. But has the widespread enthusiasm for maximizing citizen democracy led to real change? In Do-It-Yourself Democracy, sociologist Caroline W. Lee examines how participatory innovations have reshaped American civic life over the past two decades. Lee looks at the public engagement industry that emerged to serve government, corporate, and nonprofit clients seeking to gain a handle on theincreasingly noisy demands of their constituents and stakeholders. The beneficiaries of new forms of democratic empowerment are not only humble citizens, but also the engagement experts who host the forums. Does it matter if the folks deepening democracy are making money at it? How do they makesense of the contradictions inherent in their roles? In investigating public engagement practitioners' everyday anxieties and larger worldviews, we see reflected the strange meaning of power in contemporary institutions. New technologies and deliberative practices have democratized the ways in which organizations operate, but Lee argues that they havealso been marketed and sold as tools to facilitate cost-cutting, profitability, and other management goals - and that public deliberation has burdened everyday people with new responsibilities without delivering on its promises of empowerment.
Caroline W. Lee is Associate Professor of Sociology at Lafayette College.
Title:Do-It-Yourself Democracy: The Rise of the Public Engagement IndustryFormat:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.21 × 6.5 × 0.98 inPublished:January 16, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199987262

ISBN - 13:9780199987269

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Democracy 2.0?Part I: A Different Approach to the Public Engagement Renaissance1. Are You Ready to Talk? Democracy in Miniature2. The Idealists Behind the CurtainPart II: Process Evangelists: Spreading the Gospel of Deliberation3. Debating Facilitator Roles: Challenging Enemy Institutions or Embracing Living Systems?4. Walking Our Talk: Zen, Jesus, and Being the ChangePart III: Authenticity Above All: Civic Engagement as a Management Tool5. The Arts and Crafts of Real Engagement6. Tiny Expectations: Activating Empathetic CitizensPart IV: A Punishing Practice: The Spirit of Deliberative Capitalism7. Sharing the Pain: The Lessons Deliberation TeachesConclusion: Down Market Democracy and the Politics of HopePostscript: Notes on Data and MethodsNotesReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"A fresh and fascinating look at participatory democracy today. As Caroline Lee demonstrates, we've come a long way from the 1960s. Now, the Obama administration supports the efforts, civic leaders endorse them, and corporations underwrite them. Lee gets to the heart of the matter by focusingon the wizards behind the democratic curtain - the professionals who organize participatory events. Do-It-Yourself Democracy is, in turn, idealistic, moving, personal, deeply researched, elegantly written, skeptical, wise, and highly recommended." --James A. Morone, author of The Devils We Know