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Democracy and Public Space: The Physical Sites of Democratic Performance
 
 

Democracy and Public Space: The Physical Sites of Democratic Performance [Kindle Edition]

John Parkinson

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Review

This is an important book. Jason Edwards, Political Studies Review [Parkinson] has developed an innovative democratic theory of public space based on collective performance. Marco Scalvini, London School of Economics

Product Description

In an online, interconnected world, democracy is increasingly made up of wikis and blogs, pokes and tweets. Citizens have become accidental journalists thanks to their handheld devices, politicians are increasingly working online, and the traditional sites of democracy--assemblies, public galleries, and plazas--are becoming less and less relevant with every new technology. And yet, Democracy and Public Space argues, such views are leading us to confuse the medium with the message, focusing on electronic transmission when often what cyber citizens transmit is pictures and narratives of real democratic action in physical space. Democratic citizens are embodied, take up space, battle over access to physical resources, and perform democracy on physical stages at least as much as they engage with ideas in virtual space.

Combining conceptual analysis with interviews and observation in capital cities on every continent, John Parkinson argues that democracy requires physical public space, that some kinds of space are better for performing some democratic roles than others, and that some of the most valuable kinds of space are under attack in developed democracies. He argues that accidental publics like shoppers and lunchtime crowds are increasingly valued over purposive, active publics, over citizens with a point to make or an argument to listen to. This can be seen not just in the way that traditional protest is regulated, but in the ways that ordinary city streets and parks are managed, even in the design of such quintessentially democratic spaces as legislative assemblies. Democracy and Public Space offers an alternative vision for democratic public space, and evaluates 11 cities--from London to Tokyo--against that ideal.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3952 KB
  • Print Length: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (24 Mar 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007JRS72A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #937,471 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I'm Associate Professor of Public Policy at the University of Warwick, specialising in the links between democratic theory and policy making. I am particularly interested in the symbolic and rhetorical processes that drive policy and law in modern democracies, and how all that relates to power relations, institutional rules, the economy and so on.

There is more about my work on my personal website at www.johnrparkinson.net; and I blog at http://boggler.johnrparkinson.net.

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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A very nice summary of work on democracy and public space 17 Nov 2012
By Anthony M. Orum - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a topic of great interest to me, and I thought this book did a nice job of summarizing the essential material. But while I liked the summaries and the analytical tone I wish the author could have been a bit more imaginative and speculative. For example, what do gatherings in public space tell us about the workings of democracy? How do the gatherings in China differ from those in the West? And will the recent spate of protests and angry demonstrations in countries across Europe be likely to have any real consequences for the concerns of those who gathered in the streets?
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