Public Policy for Democracy

Helen Ingram

Published by Brookings Inst Pr, 1993
ISBN 10: 0815741537 / ISBN 13: 9780815741534
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Synopsis:

A fundamental rethinking is under way about the roles of government, citizens, and community organizations in public policy. Can government be reconstructed to make public policies more responsive to citizens and thus more effective? This challenge is apparent in the activist policy agenda of the Clinton administration, which supports national service programs, government-voluntary collaborations, and community-based development projects.


Public Policy for Democracy is an important and timely contribution to the current discussion of how to get people more involved in their own governance. In this book, contributors urge policymakers and policy analysts to promote a more vigorous and inclusive democracy by incorporating concerns about citizenship in their craft, rather than strictly emphasizing efficiency and effectiveness.


The authors provide insight into how the social construction of politics affects the recipients of the policies and the public in general. They call attention to how policies reinforce negative stereotypes of some groups, such as welfare recipients, and often lead to political alienation and withdrawal. In addition, they discuss how polices using "clinical reason"—a term borrowed from medicine and used as a way to classify people—are increasingly applied to nonmedical situations, such as domestic violence, to restrict individual power and legitimacy. The authors argue that much needs to be done by the government itself to improve policy design and empower all citizens to participate in the democratic process. They identify concrete strategies for policymakers to enhance the role of citizens without sacrificing program effectiveness.


Review:

"A fine collection.... Each essay adds something to the book's binding proposition that public policies can encourage greater citizen involvement. All of this is meritorious and long overdue for a profession and discipline historically more concerned with efficiency than citizen participation and democratic values." — Journal of Policy Analysis and Management



"This is an unusually imaginative and innovative collection of essays. What Ingram, Smith, and their colleagues have done is to place citizenship at the center of questions about policy design. How do we encourage people to become active, informed citizens who take responsibility for their communities? The authors provide some provocative and important answers." —Jeffrey M. Berry, Tufts University



"This book revolves around an exiting and innovative central theme: Even if policies fail to achieve their mandated goal, they can be designed so that they make a positive contribution to the political process. This is a genuine politics of public policy." —Theodore J. Lowi, Cornell University



"Public Policy i shaped b citizens, but citizens are also shaped by public policy. The authors of the book shed new light on the myriad ways in which government and citizens interact —a first step in strengthening both democracy and democratic theory." —Alan Wolfe, Boston University

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Public Policy for Democracy
Publisher: Brookings Inst Pr
Publication Date: 1993
Book Condition: Good

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