Politics for people : finding a responsible public voice (Book, 1994) [WorldCat.org]
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Politics for people : finding a responsible public voice
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Politics for people : finding a responsible public voice

Author: Forrest David Mathews
Publisher: Urbana : University of Illinois Press, ©1994.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Many Americans make no secret of their anger at being shut out of the political system. They are looking for ways to "take back the system." Because of their low opinion of "politics as usual," some citizens are trying to create a politics relevant to their everyday lives. Their efforts give us a richer understanding of political life and of a much-neglected subject - the public. In Politics for People, David
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Mathews, Forrest David, 1935-
Politics for people.
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, ©1994
(OCoLC)622813090
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Forrest David Mathews
ISBN: 0252063821 9780252063824 025202088X 9780252020889
OCLC Number: 28549747
Notes: "An Illini book"--Page 4 of cover.
Description: 228 pages ; 23 cm
Contents: pt. 1. Politics from the People's Perspective. 1. Forced Out of Politics by a Hostile Takeover. 2. The Struggle to Get Back In: What Responsibilities Are Citizens Willing to Take? --
pt. 2. Politics from the Politicians' Perspective. 3. The Way Things Were Supposed to Be. 4. We, the People; They, the Government. 5. When Officials Need the Public --
pt. 3. A Forgotten History. 6. Something Is Missing in Politics as Usual --
pt. 4. Politics by Another Name. 7. Politics That Is Not Called Politics. 8. New Thinking. 9. Marching to a Different Drummer: The Organization of Citizen Politics --
pt. 5. What Is Politics and Who Owns It? 10. Responding to the Critics. 11. Reclaiming Politics.
Responsibility: David Mathews.

Abstract:

Many Americans make no secret of their anger at being shut out of the political system. They are looking for ways to "take back the system." Because of their low opinion of "politics as usual," some citizens are trying to create a politics relevant to their everyday lives. Their efforts give us a richer understanding of political life and of a much-neglected subject - the public. In Politics for People, David Mathews describes how people become politically engaged, how they build civic communities, and how they generate political energy or public will. He argues that political discussion is the doorway into politics, and he makes a case for leavening partisan debate with more public dialogue.

Citizens are important, Mathews argues, because they have important work to do - work that goes beyond voting. The public has to define its own interest and make difficult choices about purpose in order to give direction to government and lay the foundations for common action. In order for citizens to make those choices wisely, Mathews advocates reviving the town meeting tradition and adding more deliberative dialogue to what is usually partisan debate. As Mathews explains when Americans create new civic associations, organize forums, and change the political dialogue, they are building the common ground and civic infrastructure necessary to solve problems. In this expanded notion of politics, "The public and its citizens are not peripheral, they are central."

Politics for People examines and responds to critics who either doubt that the public exists or believe that citizens lack the intellectual and moral capacity for self-government. Mathews also speaks to government officials, especially those who want to change the often counterproductive ways in which citizens and governments relate. He explains what a democratic citizenry must do if its representative government is to perform effectively, and he shows how officials might work with, and not just for, the public.

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