Do-It-Yourself Democracy: The Rise of the Public Engagement Industry

Caroline W. Lee

In Do-It-Yourself Democracy, sociologist Caroline W. Lee examines how participatory innovations have reshaped American civic life over the past two decades. Lee looks at the public engagement industry that emerged to serve government, corporate, and nonprofit clients seeking to gain a handle on the increasingly noisy demands of their constituents and stakeholders. New technologies and deliberative practices have democratized the ways in which organizations operate, but Lee argues that they have also been marketed and sold as tools to facilitate cost-cutting, profitability, and other management goals – and that public deliberation has burdened everyday people with new responsibilities without delivering on its promises of empowerment.

http://amzn.com/0199987262

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Democratizing Inequalities: Dilemmas of the New Public Participation (2015, NYU Press)

Edited by Caroline W. Lee, Michael McQuarrie, and Edward T. Walker
Foreword by Craig Calhoun

Contributors: Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Emily Cummins, Ernesto Ganuza, Nina Eliasoph, J. Matthew Judge, Daniel Kreiss, Caroline Lee, Isaac Martin, Michael McQuarrie, David Meyer, Aaron Panofsky, Francesca Polletta, Amanda Pullum, David Schielfer, Steven Vallas, Edward Walker

Opportunities to “have your say,” “get involved,” and “join the conversation” are everywhere in public life. From crowdsourcing and town hall meetings to government experiments with social media, participatory politics increasingly seem like a revolutionary antidote to the decline of civic engagement and the thinning of the contemporary public sphere. Many argue that, with new technologies, flexible organizational cultures, and a supportive policymaking context, we now hold the keys to large-scale democratic revitalization. Democratizing Inequalities shows that the equation may not be so simple. Modern societies face a variety of structural problems that limit potentials for true democratization, as well as vast inequalities in political action and voice that are not easily resolved by participatory solutions. Popular participation may even reinforce elite power in unexpected ways. Resisting an oversimplified account of participation as empowerment, this collection of essays brings together a diverse range of leading scholars to reveal surprising insights into how dilemmas of the new public participation play out in politics and organizations. Through investigations including fights over the authenticity of business-sponsored public participation, the surge of the Tea Party, the role of corporations in electoral campaigns, and participatory budgeting practices in Brazil, Democratizing Inequalities seeks to refresh our understanding of public participation and trace the reshaping of authority in today’s political environment.

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“Elites, Economy and Society: New Approaches and Findings”

Special Issue of Socio-Economic Review 

Timeline

Submission deadline: January 18, 2016

Publication of the special issue in the Socio-Economic Review: 2017

Background

Recent economic findings and global protest movements have brought increased scholarly attention to elites and the wealthy. While the economic position and material resources of elites relative to the rest of society, and their evolutions in the past decades, are now starting to be well documented (Piketty and Saez 2003, Piketty 2014), we still have an incomplete view of this group (Khan, 2012). This special issue of the Socio-Economic Review calls for papers that document and theorize the social, cultural and political dimensions of the economic elite and the contexts and consequences associated with their recent rise, with a particular focus on the various processes and mechanisms fostering inequality and privilege.

We know that elites control a greater share of the income and wealth than they did just a generation ago. But how did this happen, and what does it mean for the interplay of economy and society? One of the oldest traditions in elite research, network analysis, has recently suggested an “unraveling” of national social ties (Mizruchi 2013), while others show the increase of economic variance within the upper class itself (e.g., Godechot 2012) and ascent of a more and more global bourgeoisie. Yet considerably less research addresses the content of social ties among elites. What consequences do both the structure and content of these elite relations have on the current economic and social order?  This key issue may be addressed at different levels, including the social relations among the economic elites, between economic elites and those from other fractions of the field of power (Bourdieu 1996), and their relations with other social groups.

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The Association for Humanist Sociology is pleased to announce The Betty and Alfred McClung Lee Book Award for 2015. Authors, publishers, and AHS members may nominate books for consideration. The winner will be recognized at our annual meeting October 21-25, 2015 in Portland, OR. Nominations should be for Sociology or interdisciplinary social science books that approach their subjects from a humanist perspective.

Founded in 1976, the Association sees its mission to strive as professionals, as scholars and as activists to uncover and address social issues. We view people not merely as products of social forces, but also as agents in their lives and the world. We are committed to a sociology that contributes to a more humane, equal, and just society.

Eligible books should have been published in the calendar year 2014 or the first half of 2015. If a book was submitted for last year’s consideration, it cannot be nominated again.

To nominate a book, authors/publishers/nominators should e-mail a letter of nomination with the subject line “Betty and Alfred McClung Lee Book Award Nomination” to Daina Cheyenne Harvey at dharvey@holycross.edu. Authors/publishers should send one copy of the book to each of the award committee members listed below. The deadline for nominations is May 15, 2015. Additional information about AHS is available at www.humanist-sociology.org

If you are a student member, or know of a student member who has interests in the sociology of education, please consider joining SoE now—at no cost. The Sociology of Education section is able to pay the $7 section membership fees for the first 50 students whose names are passed along to Amy Binder, chair of the section, at abinder@ucsd.edu.

Please note that students must already be members of the ASA to be eligible for this offer. Amy will sign up students on a first come, first served basis. So please send names at your earliest convenience!

 

Call for Papers: Special Issue of Social Psychology Quarterly. “Methodological Advances and Applications in Social Psychology”

As social psychologists work to advance theory, they often are limited by their methodological toolbox. In response, researchers search for or develop new methodological approaches. Importantly, social psychologists have addressed this issue from both quantitative and qualitative orientations. Many theoretical questions also have motivated the growing use of mixed-methods. There has not been a “focused” outlet for these methodological developments within social psychology.

This special issue provides an outlet for showcasing new methodological approaches, share how methodologies commonly used in other disciplines can be adapted to social psychological investigations, and provide empirical examples of the application of new methods for social psychologists. The special issue will primarily include manuscripts that focus on the link between social psychological theory and methodological developments. As the focus is on methodological issues, the manuscripts would not include a lengthy theoretical development, but rather outline the theoretical issues at stake and why the methodological approach advances our empirical understanding of the theory. The special issue will also provide an outlet for research notes that demonstrate the use of a methodological technique to address a social psychological research question and would be shorter.

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The Department of Management and Organizations at the University of Arizona, Eller College of Management, invites applications from qualified candidates for a full-time, tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor to begin in August of 2015.  This positon is open to candidates with either micro and/or macro research and teaching interests (e.g., Human Resource Management, Judgment and Decision Making, Negotiations, Organizational Behavior, Organizational Theory, Strategy), and a Ph.D. in the field of Management or a related area (e.g., Psychology, Sociology, Economics) is required.

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