Strengthening Democracy by Design: Challenges and Opportunities

Abstract

In 2014, the Journal of Public Deliberation published an essay, “Democracy by Design,” a framework for a more aspirational, stronger democracy and approach to civic learning. Here, the authors update and reissue Democracy by Design along with a report on the status of the four foundational attributes of a strong democracy, one that is participatory, free and equal, educated and informed, and accountable and justly governed. The authors argue that American democracy faces multiple challenges reflecting declines in democratic norms and practices, for example, growing inequality, weak and unequal civic education, widening polarization, and the rise of undemocratic forces in some segments of American society that are seemingly unchecked by political leaders. Stopping democracy’s decline calls for efforts - some deliberative and some more activist - by both public officials and everyday citizens. Citizen-driven efforts will prevail only if contextualized in broader knowledge and understanding of democracy’s design and health.

Keywords

Civic Education, Governance, Deliberation, Political Participation, Democracy

How to Cite

Thomas N. & Upchurch J., (2018) “Strengthening Democracy by Design: Challenges and Opportunities”, Journal of Public Deliberation 14(2). doi: https://doi.org/10.16997/jdd.311

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Authors

Nancy L. Thomas (Tufts University)
J. Kyle Upchurch (Tufts University)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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