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We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For:…
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We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: The Promise of Civic Renewal in…

by Peter Levine

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 019993942X, Hardcover)

Chronic unemployment, deindustrialized cities, and mass incarceration are among the grievous social problems that will not yield unless American citizens address them.

Peter Levine's We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For is a primer for anyone motivated to help revive our fragile civic life and restore citizens' public role. After offering a novel theory of active citizenship, a diagnosis of its decline, and a searing critique of our political institutions, Levine-one of America's most influential civic engagement activists-argues that American citizens must address our most challenging issues. People can change the norms and structures of their own communities through deliberative civic action. He illustrates rich and effective civic work by drawing lessons from YouthBuild USA, Everyday Democracy, the Industrial Areas Foundation, and many other civic groups. Their organizers invite all citizens-including traditionally marginalized people, such as low-income teenagers-to address community problems. Levine explores successful efforts from communities across America as well as from democracies overseas. He shows how cities like Bridgeport, CT and Allentown, PA have bounced back from the devastating loss of manufacturing jobs by drawing on robust civic networks. The next step is for the participants in these local efforts to change policies that frustrate civic engagement nationally.

Filled with trenchant analysis and strategies for reform, We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For analyzes and advocates a new citizen-centered politics capable of tackling problems that cannot be fixed in any other way.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:20 -0400)

"In September 2011, two leading civic engagement advocacy organizations headed, respectively, by Robert Putnam and Peter Levine released a joint report showing that a region's level of civic engagement was a strong predictor of its ability to recover from the Great Recession. This finding confirms what advocates of civic engagement have long hypothesized: that strengthening the networks between government and civil society and increasing citizen participation results in better government and better community outcomes. However, citizens concerned about the economic crisis need more than just deliberation or community organizing alone to achieve these outcomes. What they need, according to Peter Levine, is a movement devoted to civic renewal. Deliberative democracy-the idea that true democratic legitimacy derives from open, inclusive discussion and dialogue rather than simple voting-has become an extremely influential concept in the last two decades. In We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For, Peter Levine contends that effective deliberative democracy depends upon effective community advocacy. Deliberation, he shows, is most valuable when talk and debate are integrated into a community's everyday life. To illustrate how it works, Levine draws lessons from both community organizing and developmental psychology, and uses examples of successful efforts from communities across America as well as fledgling democracies in Africa and Eastern Europe. By engaging in this type of civic work, American citizens can meaningfully contribute to civic renewal, which, in turn, will address serious social problems that cannot be fixed in any other way"--… (more)

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