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Civic Education, Civic Engagement, and Citizens' Assemblies: A Sober Second Look

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Academicians, activists, and practitioners concerned about a "democratic deficit" have endorsed various adult-centered civic education and engagement ideas to address the problem. One generating enthusiasm recently is the citizens' assembly--a large group of citizens selected, funded, and empowered by government to learn, deliberate, and make recommendations that can trigger a binding referendum. The first Citizens' Assembly was held in British Columbia in 2004 followed by Ontario's in 2006-2007 with a referendum scheduled for October. These major undertakings have been lauded as a "higher order" form of deliberative democracy and role models for future exercises elsewhere. Indeed, a smaller-scale assembly took place in the Netherlands, assemblies have been proposed in several states, and the incoming British Prime Minister has endorsed the concept.
However, full-fledged citizens' assemblies demand a major commitment of money, time, and effort, and a comparative analysis of the BC and Ontario experiences can be instructive, offering realistic insights for those contemplating future assemblies. Based on personal observation and interactions with assembly members in the Ontario CA and extensive video and archival records of both assemblies, we propose to generate premises about cause and effect, and develop propositions concerning the impact of ideological and accommodational behavior, the role of externally imposed empowering and constraining mandates, and the apparent impacts on civic knowledge, engagement, and trust within the assemblies and the citizenry, as well as assumptions made about citizens and politics in the design and implementation of these assemblies.

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assembl (239), member (121), citizen (91), system (80), ontario (78), bc (78), one (71), public (68), govern (60), would (57), elector (54), ca (53), parti (50), group (49), process (48), interest (46), polit (44), vote (42), question (38), make (37), could (36),
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Name: Southern Political Science Association
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http://www.spsa.net


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MLA Citation:

Rainey, Jane. and Rainey, Jr., Glenn. "Civic Education, Civic Engagement, and Citizens' Assemblies: A Sober Second Look" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, Hotel Intercontinental, New Orleans, LA, Jan 09, 2008 <Not Available>. 2013-12-15 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p208581_index.html>

APA Citation:

Rainey, J. G. and Rainey, Jr., G. W. , 2008-01-09 "Civic Education, Civic Engagement, and Citizens' Assemblies: A Sober Second Look" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, Hotel Intercontinental, New Orleans, LA Online <PDF>. 2013-12-15 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p208581_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Academicians, activists, and practitioners concerned about a "democratic deficit" have endorsed various adult-centered civic education and engagement ideas to address the problem. One generating enthusiasm recently is the citizens' assembly--a large group of citizens selected, funded, and empowered by government to learn, deliberate, and make recommendations that can trigger a binding referendum. The first Citizens' Assembly was held in British Columbia in 2004 followed by Ontario's in 2006-2007 with a referendum scheduled for October. These major undertakings have been lauded as a "higher order" form of deliberative democracy and role models for future exercises elsewhere. Indeed, a smaller-scale assembly took place in the Netherlands, assemblies have been proposed in several states, and the incoming British Prime Minister has endorsed the concept.
However, full-fledged citizens' assemblies demand a major commitment of money, time, and effort, and a comparative analysis of the BC and Ontario experiences can be instructive, offering realistic insights for those contemplating future assemblies. Based on personal observation and interactions with assembly members in the Ontario CA and extensive video and archival records of both assemblies, we propose to generate premises about cause and effect, and develop propositions concerning the impact of ideological and accommodational behavior, the role of externally imposed empowering and constraining mandates, and the apparent impacts on civic knowledge, engagement, and trust within the assemblies and the citizenry, as well as assumptions made about citizens and politics in the design and implementation of these assemblies.

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Document Type: PDF
Page count: 35
Word count: 19921
Text sample:
Civic Education Civic Engagement and Citizens' Assemblies: A Sober Second Look By Jane G. Rainey Department of Government Eastern Kentucky University And Glenn W. Rainey Jr. Department of Government Eastern Kentucky University Paper Prepared for Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association New Orleans January 10 - 12 2008 Civic Education Civic Engagement and Citizens' Assemblies: A Sober Second Look Amidst the twenty-first century politics of internet ads YouTube campaigning political bloggers and text message
Assembly on Electoral Reform: Socials 11/Civic Studies 11 " Rockridge Secondary School West Vancouver August 2004. 66 Described in detail in Patrick Tomlinson "The Ontario Students' Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform " York University unpublished paper 2007. 67 "Democratic Theory Seminar: on Ontario Citizens' Assembly " http://pol484.blogspot.com/ 68 League of Women Voters of Chicago Civic Engagement Project Task Force "A Time for Action: A New Vision of Participatory Democracy " undated report. 69 Lang "But Is it For Real


Similar Titles:
Unique and Common Factors Influencing a Citizen-Driven Electoral Reform Proposal: Electoral Systems and Governance Choices in the British Columbian Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform

Citizens' Criteria for Choosing an Electoral System: Evidence from the Electoral Reform Assemblies in British Columbia, the Netherlands and Ontario


 
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