Kettering Review Fall 2020

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For decades the Kettering Review has explored the question, What does it take for democracy to work as it should? The fall 2020 issue of the Review is focused on a variation of its original question: What kind of politics can solve wicked problems? Can they be addressed by better governance alone, or is a more robust public role needed? For much of the 20th century, politics was the province of elected leaders and expertise, aiming to fix problems without the public’s messy input. But what if the relationship between elected officials and constituents were recast as one of partners or coproducers? Entities that must work together, not because they necessarily like each other or agree with each other, but because making any progress on the problems of the day, demand such a relationship.

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Editor's Letter by Noëlle McAfee, Nicholas A. Felts  ( PDF )
The Office of the Citizen  by Joseph Tussman  ( PDF )

In this lecture from 1960, Tussman argues that to be a member of a democratic society is also to be an officeholder—the office of citizen. This public role demands that citizens develop and exercise their capacity for judgment in determining what ought to be done about public problems.

Agitated Times  by Sheldon S. Wolin  ( PDF )

In this essay, Wolin makes the case for the public to be seen not just as agitators, but as accomplices to democratization.

Democracy Beyond the Ballot Box  by Valerie A. Lemmie  ( PDF )

In this essay, Lemmie makes the case for local officials to move away from a service-delivery mind-set and acknowledge that the problems of the day require the work of citizens as well as the work of government.

Citizen-Centered Democracy in a Power Politics World by Claire Snyder-Hall  ( PDF )

Snyder-Hall writes from the unique perspective of a political theorist who left academia to work in the rough and tumble world of electoral politics. In this essay, she reflects on how insights from deliberative democracy might be put to good use in the electoral world.

Combating Democratic Dysfunction: An Interview with Glenn Nye  by Tony Wharton  ( PDF )

This interview with the former Virginia congressional representative explores where the public-government relationship went awry and what might be done to stem the tide.

Directly Representative Democracy  by Michael Neblo, Kevin M. Esterling, David Lazer  ( PDF )

In this groundbreaking work, Neblo et al. demonstrate the profound results of a novel set of experiments during which sitting members of Congress deliberate with small groups of their constituents.

The Public Sphere in Dark Times by Noëlle McAfee  ( PDF )

Using the work of Habermas as a lens, McAfee explores how the happenings in the public sphere might interact with and influence political life in the institutional sphere.

Governing With the People by David Mathews  ( PDF )