Posts Tagged ‘Citizen participation’

By Steve Parks, Associate Professor of Writing and Rhetoric, Syracuse University

This past summer I was fortunate enough to receive a PARCC Faculty Research Mini-Grant to interview the founders of the Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers (FWWCP). The FWWCP began in the 1970’s, a period when the mimeograph machine had created the possibility of local writers publishing their own books. Using this new technology, working class writers began to record the history of their lives, their occupations, and their communities during a period of rapid social and political change in the United Kingdom. If fact, over a forty-year period (1970’s to 2010s), the publications of the FWWCP created a self- authorized and intimate history of the changing nature of the British working class as a result of the transition from industrial to service jobs and the shift from a predominantly Anglo-European ethnic background to one that, due to global immigration patterns, is more ethically diverse. In the process, the FWWCP also provided one of the first articulations in the UK of identity politics focused on issues of race, gender, post-coloniality, and sexuality. As such, their publications provide a unique insight into how the working class used writing to advocate for an expansive vision of collective rights during an intense period of transition. Indeed, during their history, the FWWCP circulated close to one million publications. (more…)

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By requiring all federal agencies to be more transparent, collaborative, and participatory, the Obama Administration’s Open Government Initiative promised to bring watershed changes to government. While much progress has been made since the release of its first National Action Plan, advances in the arena of public participation have been disappointing. Champions of public participation had high hopes for the second National Action Plan, which was released by the White House on December 5, 2013. While the second plan has numerous commendable and important commitments that increase transparency and collaboration, it falls flat with regard to public participation, perhaps with the exception of its promotion of participatory budgeting. (more…)

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CNYSpeaks is translating into reality two of the most well-known and respected visions at Syracuse University — citizenship and scholarship in action.

The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs was founded in 1924 under the leadership and generosity of George Holmes Maxwell with the primary objective of teaching good citizenship by developing leaders broadly trained in the social sciences. Eighty years later, in 2004, Nancy Cantor joined Syracuse University as its Chancellor and developed a new vision of Scholarship in Action – “a commitment to forging bold, imaginative, reciprocal, and sustained engagements with our many constituent communities, local as well as global.”

CNYSpeaks works to achieve both of these goals – simultaneously teaching students about good citizenship and engaging the greater Syracuse community in meaningful deliberations about the issues that matter to them most. (more…)

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Public administration (both as an academic discipline and professional field) must take deliberative civic engagement processes seriously. There are a number of deliberative civic engagement models, but all embrace public deliberation, and many embrace deliberative democracy. Broadly defined, public deliberation refers to a diverse group of people engaging in reasoned discussion and rigorous problem analysis with an eye toward finding agreeable high-quality solutions for a public issue. Deliberative democracy refers to infusing government decision making with the collective judgment of citizens arrived at through deliberation.

There are at least three reasons why the public should take deliberative civic engagement seriously. (more…)

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