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Democracy as Problem SolvingCivic Capacity in Communities Across the Globe$
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Xavier de Souza Briggs

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262026413

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262026413.001.0001

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Democracy and Public Problems

Democracy and Public Problems

(p.26) (p.27) 2 Democracy and Public Problems
Democracy as Problem Solving

Souza Briggs

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses distinct perspectives for approaching the democratic process at the community level, including contest, deliberation, and problemsolving, and provides an analysis of the social and political changes that have played a significant role in changing institutions and expectations in democratic societies throughout the world in recent decades. It emphasizes that agreement-seeking civic action is required for building and using civic capacity, and that acts of leadership are needed at the community level as ideological differences and partisan perceptions among people and institutions block the learning process. The chapter focuses on the idea that by making public agencies more accountable and result-oriented, public decision-making can be made more transparent and accountable. Legitimacy and productive capacity, two essential elements of effective public action, can help make mission-driven public organizations and other institutions of modern democracies more effective.

Keywords:   democratic process, civic capacity, public decision-making, legitimacy

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