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Download Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in by Theda Skocpol PDF

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By Theda Skocpol

Pundits and social observers have voiced alarm every year as fewer american citizens contain themselves in voluntary teams that meet usually. millions of nonprofit teams were introduced lately, yet such a lot are run via execs who foyer Congress or convey social providers to consumers. what's going to ensue to U.S. democracy if participatory teams and social routine wither, whereas civic involvement turns into yet another career instead of each citizen’s correct and responsibility? In reduced Democracy, Theda Skocpol indicates that this decline in public involvement has now not continually been the case during this country—and how, through figuring out the motives of this variation, we would opposite it. 

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Additional info for Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life

Sample text

S. history. For each era of history, we have situated very large membership associations in relation to smaller membership groups and other kinds of civic entities. We have also developed new data about the changing civic affiliations of elites and investigated the strategies and models used by civic organizers, the men and women who have launched and led various types of voluntary associations in different historical periods. More will be said about specific data sets and sources of evidence at appropriate points throughout this book.

Even more worrisome, the questions survey researchers ask are very general. We learn, for example, how many voluntary groups individuals join but very little about the specific organizational structures, purposes, or social constituencies of those groups. In an era when civic leaders are organizing and running very different kinds of voluntary understanding american civic democracy 17 organizations from those that held sway before the 1960s— and at a time when Americans mean very different things by civic involvement than they once did—it is simply not sufficient to count affiliations with vague types of groups or to ask people how many “community meetings” they have attended in the past year.

Stereotypes prevail in the absence of systematic knowledge. TODAY’S ACCEPTED WISDOM: SMALL WAS BEAUTIFUL Even scholars and pundits who disagree about contemporary America’s civic health share a mythical image of the past. S. civil society was local and intimate, they envision voluntary groups as originally bottomup and scattered creations, fashioned here and there in relatively bounded communities by immediate neighbors and personal friends. According to accepted wisdom, voluntary how the united states became a civic nation 21 groups once had room to flourish in the absence of supralocal governance.

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