Kevin J. ElliottJul 1, 2023
Democracy for Busy People
University of Chicago Press 2023
John Dewey and Jane Addams are both credited with the claim that the cure for democracy’s ills is more democracy. The sentiment is popular to this day among democratic theorists and practitioners. The thought is that a democratic deficit lies at the root of any political and social problem that a democracy might confront. Accordingly, a good deal of work in democratic theory aims at designing new practices and institutions that can erase the deficit. But this raises a problem: The civic task of democratic citizenship must be manageable for ordinary citizens. And ordinary citizens are differentially busy with other pursuits, many of which are independently valuable and socially beneficial. Thus, proposals for “more democracy” tend to be exclusionary.
In Democracy for Busy People (University of Chicago Press, 2023), Kevin J. Elliott addresses this difficulty head on. He devises a conception of the civic responsibilities of citizenship that is authentically democratic without being overly demanding.
Robert Talisse is the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.