Attention Deficit Democracy: The Paradox of Civic Engagement

Overview

"This book offers important correctives to the plethora of work on civic engagement produced by political theorists and political scientists over the past twenty years. Ben Berger argues that too much civic engagement--or engagement of the wrong sorts--can damage democracy as much as support it. This is a genuine work of public philosophy that offers insights and analytical tools for making contemporary democracies better."--Sharon Krause, Brown University

"This lucid and intelligent book will interest scholars ...

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Attention Deficit Democracy: The Paradox of Civic Engagement

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Overview

"This book offers important correctives to the plethora of work on civic engagement produced by political theorists and political scientists over the past twenty years. Ben Berger argues that too much civic engagement--or engagement of the wrong sorts--can damage democracy as much as support it. This is a genuine work of public philosophy that offers insights and analytical tools for making contemporary democracies better."--Sharon Krause, Brown University

"This lucid and intelligent book will interest scholars and a broad swath of the politically inclined reading public. Berger writes with authority, wit, and directness, and his scholarship never gets in the way of the flow of his argument."--Dana Villa, University of Notre Dame

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Acknowledging that there are real limits to how involved citizens will be in political activity, [Berger] develops a sophisticated and balanced argument for policies to enhance political engagement, mainly through institutional changes to encourage and especially to make better use of citizens' activity. The book is clearly written and accessible.
Perspectives on Politics
I applaud Berger's effort to add analytic rigor to discussions that frequently devolve into reflexive paeans to civic engagement.
— Justin Buchler
Perspectives on Politics - Justin Buchler
I applaud Berger's effort to add analytic rigor to discussions that frequently devolve into reflexive paeans to civic engagement.
Political Studies Review - Michael T. Rogers
Arendt and/or Tocqueville scholars may find Attention Deficit Democracy of interest. Berger offers contributions to scholarship on both, although his readings are not revolutionary. . . . [T]he strength of Berger's treatment of Arendt and Tocqueville is not novel interpretations, but the creative application of their thinking in explaining ADD.
From the Publisher

Winner of the 2012 Book Award, North American Society for Social Philosophy

"Acknowledging that there are real limits to how involved citizens will be in political activity, [Berger] develops a sophisticated and balanced argument for policies to enhance political engagement, mainly through institutional changes to encourage and especially to make better use of citizens' activity. The book is clearly written and accessible."--Choice

"I applaud Berger's effort to add analytic rigor to discussions that frequently devolve into reflexive paeans to civic engagement."--Justin Buchler, Perspectives on Politics

"Arendt and/or Tocqueville scholars may find Attention Deficit Democracy of interest. Berger offers contributions to scholarship on both, although his readings are not revolutionary. . . . [T]he strength of Berger's treatment of Arendt and Tocqueville is not novel interpretations, but the creative application of their thinking in explaining ADD."--Michael T. Rogers, Political Studies Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691144689
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 9/11/2011
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author


Ben Berger is associate professor of political science at Swarthmore College.
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Table of Contents


Preface vii
CHAPTER 1: Introduction 1
CHAPTER 2: The Rules of Engagement 24
CHAPTER 3: Political Engagement as Intrinsic Good: Arendt and Company 52
CHAPTER 4: Political Engagement as Instrumental Good: Tocqueville, Attention Deficit, and Energy 83
CHAPTER 5: Is Political Engagement Better Than Sex? 121
CHAPTER 6: Conclusion: Tocqueville vs. the Full Monty 144
Bibliography 175
Index 195
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