Democracy as Problem Solving

Democracy as Problem Solving

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Complexity, division, mistrust, and qprocess paralysisq can thwart leadersand others when they tackle local challenges. In Democracy as Problem Solving, Xavier de SouzaBriggs shows how civic capacity--the capacity to create and sustain smart collective action--can bedeveloped and used. In an era of sharp debate over the conditions under which democracy can developwhile broadening participation and building community, Briggs argues that understanding and buildingcivic capacity is crucial for strengthening governance and changing the state of the world in theprocess. More than managing a contest among interest groups or spurring deliberation to reframeissues, democracy can be what the public most desires: a recipe for significant progress onimportant problems. Briggs examines efforts in six cities, in the United States, Brazil, India, andSouth Africa, that face the millennial challenges of rapid urban growth, economic restructuring, andinvesting in the next generation. These challenges demand the engagement of government, business, and nongovernmental sectors. And the keys to progress include the ability to combine learning andbargaining continuously, forge multiple forms of accountability, and find ways to leverage thecapacity of the grassroots and what Briggs terms the qgrasstops, q regardless of whoinitiates change or who participates over time. Civic capacity, Briggs shows, can--and must--bedeveloped even in places that lack traditions of cooperative civic action. Thehardcover edition does not include a dust jacket.Case studies from around the world and theoretical discussion show how the capacityto act collectively on local problems can be developed, strengthening democracy while changingsocial and economic outcomes.

Title:Democracy as Problem Solving
Author:Xavier de Souza Briggs
Publisher:MIT Press - 2008


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