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Anyone who has ever been to a public hearing or community meeting would agree that participatory democracy can be boring. Hours of repetitive presentations, alternatingly alarmist or complacent, for or against, accompanied by constant heckling, often with no clear outcome or decision. Is this the best democracy can offer? In Making Democracy Fun, Josh Lerner offers a novel solution for the sad state of our deliberative democracy: the power of good game design. What if public meetings featured competition and collaboration (such as team challenges), clear rules (presented and modeled in multiple ways), measurable progress (such as scores and levels), and engaging sounds and visuals? These game mechanics would make meetings more effective and more enjoyable -- even fun. Lerner reports that institutions as diverse as the United Nations, the U.S. Army, and grassroots community groups are already using games and game-like processes to encourage participation. Drawing on more than a decade of practical experience and extensive research, he explains how games have been integrated into a variety of public programs in North and South America. He offers rich stories of game techniques in action, in children's councils, social service programs, and participatory budgeting and planning. With these real-world examples in mind, Lerner describes five kinds of games and twenty-six game mechanics that are especially relevant for democracy. He finds that when governments and organizations use games and design their programs to be more like games, public participation becomes more attractive, effective, and transparent. Game design can make democracy fun -- and make it work.
A comprehensive text on the theory and practice of public participation Written by two leaders in the field, Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy explores the theory and practice of public participation in decision-making and problem-solving. It examines how public participation developed over time to include myriad thick, thin, and conventional opportunities, occurring in both face-to-face meetings and online settings. The book explores the use of participation in various arenas, including education, health, land use, and state and federal government. It offers a practical framework for thinking about how to engage citizens effectively, and clear explanations of participation scenarios, tactics, and designs. Finally, the book provides a sensible approach for reshaping our participation infrastructure to meet the needs of public officials and citizens. The book is filled with illustrative examples of innovative participatory activities, and numerous sources for more information. This important text puts the spotlight on the need for long-term, cross-sector, participation planning, and provides guidance for leaders, citizens, activists, and others who are determined to improve the ways that participation and democracy function. Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy: Helps students and practitioners understand the history, theory, and practice of public participation Contains a wealth of case studies that explore the application of public participation in different settings Covers vital issues such as education, health, land use, and state and federal government Has accompanying instructor resources, such as PowerPoint slides, discussion questions, sample assignments, case studies and research from www.participedia.net, and classroom activities.
This book reasserts the importance of the French Revolution to an understanding of the nature of modern European politics and social life. Livesey argues that the European model of democracy was created in the Revolution, a model with very specific commitments that differentiate it from Anglo-American liberal democracy.

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