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Learning Democratic Practices: Political Parties, Media and American Political Development

Learning Democratic Practices: Political Parties, Media and American Political Development (Paperback)

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How does "democracy" work in the United States? How are candidates selected to appear on the ballot? How are issues framed for presentation to the electorate? What processes, conversations, institutions, and laws interact to determine how democracy "works"? How do new politicians learn to deal with all of this?There is a large and growing literature about these issues, some of which is reviewed in Chapter Two. This book examines selected facts of these issues through the lens of learning theory. It turns out that viewing political parties as "communities of practice" is a very useful organizing principle. Within this point of view, and research presented in this book is examined how "partisans" (people who got involved beyond voting and letter-writing) learn how to function within these communities of practice. While this is formally interesting from a learning theory point of view, it turns out that the by-products of this inquiry say a lot about what is happening to "democracy" in the United States and how it got that way. The core of the book is a set of interviews with partisans.

This book examines the factors that operate in political parties as communities of practice to maintain or discourage partisanship. The theories of adult learning involved in this research are from the field of learning from experience. Political socialization is the process by which the individual develops a politicalidentity. In a large research study in Europe, the political socialization processfor adults to learn active citizenship there was studied. This study is a partialreplica of this European study, by John Holford and Ruud van der Veen, et al.[Lifelong Learning, Governance and Active Citizenship in Europe (2003). FinalReport of the ETGACE Research Project: Education and Training for Governance and Active Citizenship in Europe: Analysis of Adult Learning and Design of Formal, Non-Formal and Informal Educational Intervention Strategies.Guildford: University of Surrey Department of Educational Studies.] In thework presented here, the activist in a political party is referred to as a "partisan". For purposes of this research, "partisans" are those who have joined a politicalparty by taking part in membership activities, or as candidates.

History & PoliticsPolitics & governmentPolitical corruptionHistory & PoliticsPolitics & governmentPolitical partiesPolitical manifestosHistory & PoliticsPolitics & governmentPolitical structure & processesPolitical structures: democracyPhilosophy, Psychology & Social SciencesSocial groupsEthnic studiesEthnic minorities & multicultural studies Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing Publication Date: 15/12/2006 ISBN-13: 9781847187475  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
Availability: To Order. Estimated despatch in 1-3 weeks.  

Janet Youngblood's interests are adult learning in the practice of democracy. She received her Bachelor's degree at Reed College, Portland, Oregon where she was named a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. Working in English Literature and Writing, she developed an interest in political participation in the generations following the upheavals of the 1960's. Completing her MBA, she focused on the interaction of political economy with political sociology and, from there, proceeded to complete her Doctorate of Education in Adult Learning at Teachers College/Columbia University in order to better understand the way in which adults learn democratic practices, as opposed to authoritarian or oligarchic practices in the modern American context. She has published a second book of essays, "Learning Democratic Practices" which is a collection of papers from a conference held at Teachers College in 2005, based on her dissertation work. The book is edited by Ruud van der Veen, Danny Wildemeersch, Victoria Marsick, and Janet Youngblood. Her current research is on diversity and tolerance in urban environments with the Flemish Research Council. Her current teaching around this topic is three courses: "Learning Democratic Practices," "American Political Development," and "Politics and the Media."

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