Frontiers of Democracy
July 16-18, 2014
Tufts University, Boston, MA
Who’s on the bus, and where is it going? The state of the civic field
Civic work is proliferating: many different kinds of people, working in different contexts and issue areas, are expanding the ways in which citizens engage with government, community, and each other. It is increasingly clear that growing inequality, social and political fragmentation, and lack of democratic opportunities are undermining our efforts to address public priorities such as health, education, poverty, the environment, and government reform.
But attempts to label the responses – as “civic engagement,” “collaborative governance,” “deliberative democracy,” or “public work” – or to articulate them as one movement or policy agenda under a heading like “civic renewal” or “stronger democracy” – immediately spark debates about substance, strategy, and language.
Though it is clear we have many principles and practices in common, we differ on what we should call this work and where it is headed. In order for “overlapping civic coalitions”* to form, the potential partners would have to work through goals, assumptions, and differences. Register now and join us July 16-18 for an invigorating, argumentative, civil discussion on the state and future of the civic field.
Visit the Frontiers of Democracy website for more information and a preliminary agenda.
* Peter Levine, We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For, chapter 7 (“Strategies”)