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Democracy InsideParticipatory Innovation in Unlikely Places$
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Albert W. Dzur

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190658663

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190658663.001.0001

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Institutions as Fields of Action

Institutions as Fields of Action

(p.25) 2 Institutions as Fields of Action
Democracy Inside

Albert W. Dzur

Oxford University Press

Institutions shape how citizens think about the social problems they handle, repelling public awareness and involvement by performing tasks in ways that neutralize the citizen’s role. Democratic professionals seek to change this dynamic by building access points and infusing citizen agency at critical junctures throughout major public institutions. The kind of citizen–professional collaborations democratic professionals aim to foster directly address the kinds of counter-democratic tendencies that reinforce callousness and make social problems difficult to handle. The motivations of democratic professionals can be understood through the theory of participatory democracy, which draws attention to the hazards representative governments create by thinking and acting for citizens. Participatory democrats acknowledge the difficulties of fostering civic agency in modernity and attempt to theorize how citizens can occupy a more active role in contemporary political culture and take up a civic responsibility for the public goods and social harms produced by their institutions.

Keywords:   institutional reform, citizen participation, collaboration, professionalism, theories of participatory democracy, civic responsibility

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