in Real Democracy

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780226077963
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226077987 | DOI:

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Real democracy works better in small places. Moreover, this chapter discovers that smallness fights off every variable mobilized to intercede with this relationship. Many of the competitors have impressive empirical credentials of proven influence on other forms of democracy. Others seem logically connected to changes in town meeting attendance. Yet in addition to failing to topple town size from its lofty position, none of these variables demonstrate more than limited connections with real democracy on their own. These competing variables are treated in two categories. The first (the subject of this chapter) contains elements associated with the structure or architecture of the town meeting, such as the kind of voting system in use or when the town meeting is held. The second comprises community life indicators such as the level of formal education of the town's citizens or the strength of the democratic vote in the community. The relative weakness of the variables found in these two categories is best understood in the context of another variable, the presence of controversial issues before the town.

Keywords: real democracy; governance; town meeting; meeting attendance; community life; formal education

Chapter.  10023 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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