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Over at, Harry C. Boyte of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Democracy and Citizenship ( has written an engaging article called Building Civic Agency: the Public Work Approach. He explains how the Center for Democracy and Citizenship uses what they call a “public work approach” to build the capacities of citizens to engage in democratic life. This approach is rooted in the idea of citizens as “co-creators” of democracy, rather than voters, vounteers, or other categories that narrowly define the contribution that citizens can make to public life. It shifts the idea of participating in democracy from once-every-four-years in the ballot booth to an ongoing process of participating in public works, using the talents and intelligence of ordinary citizens. The article lists many resources at the end for those interested in learning more about this approach to civic agency. Click on the title above to read the full text. This article is part of an ongoing series about democracy and deliberation over at OpenDemocracy; you may want to check back there periodically or subscribe to their email bulletins.

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