ERIC Number: ED560868
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Reference Count: N/A
Reinventing Citizenship as Public Work: Citizen-Centered Democracy and the Empowerment Gap
Boyte, Harry C.
Calls for revitalization of civic education and civic learning are multiplying, but notions of work as a site of citizenship--for "citizen teachers" or "citizen faculty members," for example--have largely disappeared. This paper begins with an overview of the dominant approaches to civic education and learning: "civics" (study of government) and "communitarian" (service and voluntarism) frameworks. Both have strengths. But neither explicitly addresses civic empowerment nor work as a site of citizenship. The result is that civic engagement and citizenship are not taken very seriously, public identities, such as the "citizen as customer," which undermine robust, productive citizenship, continue to spread, and educators are under attack, with insufficient political resources to respond. This essay focuses on a third, emerging framework. In 2007, a group of engaged political and social theorists was convened by the journal of political theory, "The Good Society". The group, which included Elinor Ostrom, Steve Elkin, Peter Levine, Jane Mansbridge, Rogers Smith, Karol Soltan, and the author, created The New Civic Politics, a framing statement for a new civic engagement approach based on civic agency and citizens as co-creators, and informed in part by theories and practices of public work developed by the Center for Democracy and Citizenship (CDC) and its partners. In this report, the author expands the argument that work and workplaces need to be brought in as sites of citizenship if revitalization of education as a civic vocation, civic learning, and a citizen-centered democracy is going to be seen.
Descriptors: Civics, Citizenship Education, Democracy, Empowerment, Educational Change, Work Attitudes, Labor Force Development, Human Capital, Social Theories, Service Learning, Community Development, Change Agents
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Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Kettering Foundation