Democratizing Inequalities

At some point, the call for “power to the people” transmographied into calls for “empowerment.”  Demands for influence were answered by offers of inclusion or dialogue or deliberation.

So, what does all this talking lead to?

The question is whether these new “democratic” procedures–and the new industry that’s emerged to promote and coordinate them– actually promote responsiveness on policy, meaningful political inclusion, or greater citizen engagement?

Caroline Lee, Mike McQuarrie, and Ed Walker organized a wonderful conference at NYU to explore these issues.   The quick answer seems disturbing: not only don’t these new venues promote a more democratic politics, they may actually stand in the way of one.

See what you think.

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About David S. Meyer

Author and professor of Sociology and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine
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