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What is Participatory Democracy? Theory, Activism, and Power
Since its first formulation in the early 1960s, the concept of “participatory democracy” has come to take on multiple meanings—some of them complementary, others conflicting. Promoted by a wide variety of theorists, activists, social movements, and political parties, conceptions of participatory democracy range from deepened civic engagement to procedural reform to the wholesale transformation of the liberal-democratic system. For some, participatory democracy is an organizing ethos, a set of values for building community space that sits outside of, or counter to, prevailing institutions; for others, it’s a definite political project, one aimed at radically reconfiguring the state and reallocating institutional power. What is participatory democracy? What unites, and divides, its various understandings? And, to what extent does it offer a compelling vision of change for a society wracked by social and economic turbulence and the highly unequal distribution of political and economic power?
In this course, we will explore varying conceptions of participatory democracy, asking: if democracy is “the rule of the people,” in what ways can participation shape and affect its dynamics? What are purposes, and limits, of participation itself? What forms can a participatory democracy take? What concept of the people, the demos, undergirds a participatory democratic program? We will read from both classical democratic thinkers, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau and J.S. Mill, and contemporary movement theorists, such as Francesca Polletta and Gianpaolo Baiocchi, as we assess the viability of a participatory theory of democracy and the institutional forms a participatory democracy might take. We’ll examine differing conceptions and democratic projects across cultures and geographies, including participatory budgeting, citizens’ assemblies, and anarchist-inspired initiatives.
Finally, we consider various critiques of participatory democracy. How does it account for hyper-inequalities in wealth and economic power? Is participatory democracy indeed a substantive alternative to conventional liberal democracy, or an intensification of its neoliberal logics? How does participatory democracy fit within a vision of sustained social change?
This course is available for "remote" learning and will be available to anyone with access to an internet device with a microphone (this includes most models of computers, tablets). Classes will take place with a "Live" instructor at the date/times listed below.
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The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research was established in 2011 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to extend liberal arts education and research far beyond the borders of the traditional university, supporting community education needs and opening up new possibilities for scholarship in the...
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This class will take place online. Registered students will receive login instructions. This intro class teaches you basic botanical illustration techniques to help you make realistic drawings of branches, stems, leaves, and flowers using graphite and colored pencil. Recommended Textbooks: Botanical Art Techniques, American Society of Botanical...
Wednesday Jan 11th, 6pm - 9pm Eastern Time(4 sessions)
This class will take place online. Registered students will receive login instructions. Discover the power, the allure, and the science of psychedelic mushrooms. Food journalist and former president of the New York Mycological Society, Eugenia Bone, author of Mycophilia, will discuss the biology of these potent fungi, their cultural history, and contemporary...
Thursday Dec 8th, 10:30am - 12:30pm Eastern Time
at Infinity Foundation -
If you have ever gone somewhere and felt an unknown presence, it may have been a ghost or an entity vying for your attention. While this may be disconcerting, it can be understood in a way that is not scary. Often, they are visiting you to comfort you or let you know something important. If you happen to see a lost loved one, chances are they are...
Wednesday Dec 14th, 7pm - 9pm Central Time
The Bauhaus School was one of the most influential art and design schools in the twentieth century. Founded in 1919 in Weimar, it represented the zeitgeist of a modernizing and changing society in Germany between the wars. In this class you will draw inspiration by studying the Bauhaus aesthetics and artists like László Moholy-Nagy who continued...
Wednesday Jan 11th, 9:30am - 12:30pm Central Time(6 sessions)
at The New School -
Today’s competitive marketing climate has led many companies to explore theories of consumer behavior. This course focuses on the profile of the consumer—psychographics and demographics—and consumer interests, with an emphasis on generational marketing. Segmented and niche markets and their development are also discussed. Prerequisites:...
Monday Jan 23rd, 9am - 5pm Eastern Time(10 sessions)
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