By Ben Berger

Handwringing approximately political apathy is as previous 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 higher civic engagement as a democratic cure-all have met with frequent contract. yet how realistic--or helpful--is it to count on electorate to commit extra awareness and effort to politics? In Attention Deficit Democracy, Ben Berger presents a shocking new standpoint at the challenge of civic engagement, not easy idealists who aspire to revolutionize democracies and their voters, but in addition taking factor with cynics who imagine that electorate cannot--and want not--do better.
"Civic engagement" has turn into an unwieldy and complicated catchall, Berger argues. we must always speak rather than political, social, and ethical engagement, knowing which varieties of engagement make democracy paintings greater, and the way we would advertise them. concentrating on political engagement and taking Alexis de Tocqueville and Hannah Arendt as his courses, Berger identifies how you can in achieving the political engagement we need and want with no resorting to coercive measures similar to obligatory nationwide carrier or needed voting.
via supplying a pragmatic account of the worth of political engagement and sensible recommendations for bettering it, whereas keeping off proposals we will by no means desire to accomplish, Attention Deficit Democracy makes a persuasive case for a public philosophy that a lot of the general public can really endorse.

Attention Deficit Democracy: the anomaly of civic engagement has been named the Winner of the NASSP (North American Society for Social Philosophy) 2012 publication Award because the top social philosophy booklet released in 2011. earlier winners contain Amartya Sen, G.A. Cohen, Will Kymlicka and Seyla Benhabib.
It used to be additionally named one of many best 10 Nonfiction Books of 2011 by way of Zocalo Public sq., a undertaking of the heart for Social solidarity.

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3 Mark E. ” See Mark E. Warren (2001: 122). 4 Arendt (1959: 5). 5 Thoughtless individuals still possess cognition, of course, which Arendt describes as mere “instrumental reason” divorced from courage, conviction, or moral sense. ” Tocqueville defines political associations as groups “by which men seek to defend themselves against the despotic action of the majority or the encroachments of . . ”7 To put Tocqueville’s insights in my terms, not all social engagement is political. Tocqueville further recognizes that neither political nor social or civil associations will always promote moral virtues such as generalized tolerance or mutual respect; in other words, not all political and social engagement involves meaningful moral engagement.

Hibbing and Theiss-Morse (2002: 189). 13 Verba, Schlozman, and Brady (1995: 40) agree that while “the boundary between political and non-political activity is by no means clear,” coherent analysis requires that we nonetheless attempt to make such distinctions. 11 RU LES OF ENGAGEMENT 27 recognize the confusion that it has sown and the difficulty, if not impossibility, of simply cleaning up the term. A range of theorists and practitioners, apparently reacting to the confusion that I have documented, have recently tried to do just that.

43 In Gerring’s terms, civic engagement resonated with scholars and with the general public, and its deep resonance led to widespread familiarity. But its resonance and familiarity, in the absence of conceptual parsimony and differentiation, encouraged 43 Tocqueville (1969); Arendt (1959); Tönnies (2002); Durkheim (1951); Marx, “The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844,” in Marx and Engels (1978); Kornhauser (1959); and Sennett (1977). Nancy Rosenblum concludes one essay by warning that “the critical dilemma for liberal democracy in the United States today is .

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