Citizen Competence and Democratic Institutions

Paper or softback
Stephen L. Elkin, Karol Soltan
Published 19 Apr 2007
List Price £21.95



Bringing together new work from many of the leading experts on democratic citizenship, this volume presents both normative argument and empirical analysis to help deepen our understanding of the various competences that citizens require if there is to be a flourishing democratic political order in our present age.

The essays explore the following themes: (1) the essential components of democratic citizenship and how these can be fostered; (2) the state of citizen competence in various democratic regimes; (3) civil society as a crucial site for the exercise and development of democratic citizenship; (4) new findings that show democratic citizens to have more political information and behave more rationally than hitherto supposed; and (5) the theory and practice of new institutional forms for democratic deliberation and democratic control.

The final section of the book explores new and revitalized forms of democratic participation as well as the kind of participation that is likely to foster a wide variety of citizen competences. The discussion runs from what we know and can expect from town meetings, to the value of public work in fostering a democratic citizenry, to entirely new forms for expressing citizen judgment.

The Contributors are Benjamin Barber, Harry C. Boyte, Frank M. Bryan, Michael A. Dimock, Stephen L. Elkin, James S. Fishkin, Norman Frohlich, John Gaventa, Elizabeth Gerber, Alan Kay, Robert E. Lane, Arthur Lupia, Jane Mansbridge, Joe A. Oppenheimer, Benjamin Page, Samuel Popkin, Nancy Rosenblum, Robert Shapiro, Karol Edward Soltan, Marion Smiley, and David Steiner.