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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 participatorygovernance Written by two leaders in the field of participatory governance,Introduction to Public Participation explores the theory andpractice of citizen participation in decision-making andproblem-solving in government. The book examines the values andguiding principles that have emerged from the practice of publicparticipation in the 21st Century. It offers clear explanations forthe fundamental rationales behind participation and clarifiestraditional models for participation, including more recentcutting-edge models that have emerged for both face-to-face andonline participation. The book is filled with illustrative examples throughout andcontains detailed case analyses. This important text puts thespotlight on the need for cross-sector, long-term civic engagementplanning, and provides guidance for future leaders who aredetermined to improve the ways that democracies function. Helps students and practitioners understand the theory behindand practice of participatory governance Contains a wealth of detailed case studies that explore theapplication of public participation Covers vital issues such as immigration, race, and difference;public finance, poverty, and economic development; land use and theenvironment; public safety and public health; and schools andeducation Accompanying instructor resources include; case studies andresearch from www.participedia.net, discussion questions, sampleassignments, and classroom activities
This book examines democracy and governance from the unconventional and largely under researched vantage point of information. It looks at the exclusionary informational dynamics in democracy and analyses the role of information capitalism, new technology, virtual networks, cyberspace and media. While emphasizing the foundational value of information as the ‘source code’ of modern societies the book explains how it is strategically maneuvered in technologies of governance in so-called established and credible democracies. It studies the neutralization and subversion as well as the complex, nuanced and multidimensional act of othering of people, who are supposed to be the repository of power in democracy and in whose interest the business of governance is expected to be conducted. The work highlights the challenges of technocratic interpretations, stunted public policy communication, hyped information society, cooption through the state-of-the-art capitalism, rhetoric of virtual networks and the often-unilateral agenda of mainstream media. A major intervention in understanding the nature of contemporary democracy and polity, this volume will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of politics, media, political communication and technology studies.
Democratic innovations are proliferating in politics, governance, policy, and public administration. These new processes of public participation are reimagining the relationship between citizens and institutions. This Handbook advances understanding of democratic innovations, in theory and practice, by critically reviewing their importance throughout the world. The overarching themes are a focus on citizens and their relationship to these innovations, and the resulting effects on political equality. The Handbook therefore offers a definitive overview of existing research on democratic innovations, while also setting the agenda for future research and practice.
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.
The Laurence and Lynne Brown Democracy Medal recognizes outstanding individuals, groups, and organizations that produce exceptional innovations to further democracy in the United States or around the world. The inaugural medal winner, the Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP), is an innovative not-for-profit organization that promotes "participatory budgeting," an inclusive process that empowers community members to make informed decisions about public spending. More than 46,000 people in communities across the United States have decided how to spend $45 million through programs that PBP helped spark over the last five years. In Everyone Counts, PBP co-founder and executive director Josh Lerner provides a concise history of the organization's origins and its vision, highlighting its real-world successes in fostering grassroots budgeting campaigns in such cities as New York, Boston, and Chicago. As more and more communities turn to participatory budgeting as a means of engaging citizens, prioritizing civic projects, and allocating local, state, and federal funding, this cogent volume will offer guidance and inspiration to others who want to transform democracy in the United States and elsewhere. “The Participatory Budgeting Project exemplifies the essential features the award committee was looking for in its inaugural recipient. Political and economic inequality is part of the American national discussion, and participatory budgeting helps empower marginalized groups that do not normally take part in a process that is so critical for democratic life.”— John Gastil, Director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy

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