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Handwringing approximately political apathy is as outdated as democracy itself.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 available in the market rather than balloting. in additional contemporary a long time, demands better civic engagement as a democratic cure-all have met with common contract. yet how realistic--or helpful--is it to anticipate voters to commit 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, not easy idealists who aspire to revolutionize democracies and their electorate, but in addition taking factor with cynics who imagine that voters cannot--and desire not--do better.
"Civic engagement" has develop into an unwieldy and complicated catchall, Berger argues. we must always speak rather than political, social, and ethical engagement, knowing which different types of engagement make democracy paintings greater, and the way we would advertise them. targeting political engagement and taking Alexis de Tocqueville and Hannah Arendt as his publications, Berger identifies how one can in achieving the political engagement we need and wish with out resorting to coercive measures equivalent to obligatory nationwide provider or necessary voting.
through delivering a pragmatic account of the price of political engagement and functional recommendations for making improvements to it, whereas warding off proposals we will 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. past winners comprise Amartya Sen, G.A. Cohen, Will Kymlicka and Seyla Benhabib.
It was once additionally named one of many best 10 Nonfiction Books of 2011 by means of Zocalo Public sq., a venture of the guts for Social unity.
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Extra resources for Attention Deficit Democracy: The Paradox of Civic Engagement
1993: 173, 181). 33 Note that norms of trust and reciprocity would not by themselves constitute what I call moral engagement unless people take corresponding action to actualize that trust. But Putnam uses the term “civic disengagement” to encompass all three of what I distinguish as political, social, and moral disengagement. Putnam et al. (1993: 15). Eric Uslaner writes extensively on the moral component of trust, and the connections between trust and moral behavior or action. See, for example, Uslaner (1999).
Many of them cite the same few passages from Tocqueville’s voluminous works and pass over the many observations that contradict their assumptions. 75 To be sure, Tocqueville stresses the importance of voluntary associations and political participation, but he also stresses the need for institutional design that can channel citizens’ collective energy into useful political outlets and connect local energy with regional and national politics. 76 This book provides insights into the ways in which Tocqueville and Arendt should, and should not, be drawn upon when we theorize about democracy in America and elsewhere.
Not only can we, but Hannah Arendt correctly asserts that we ignore those distinctions at our peril. 2 Her category of the “social” thus includes economics, which must be barred from consideration in the free political realm. Politics, conversely, involves people coming together freely to strive greatly, act boldly, and—in the shining light generated by free individuals acting cooperatively—reveal their distinctiveness and find meaning in their lives. 4 In the absence of judgment—in the presence of 1 Cf.
Attention Deficit Democracy: The Paradox of Civic Engagement by Ben Berger