Race, Dialogue, and the Practice of Community Life

in Talking about Race

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780226869063
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226869087 | DOI:
Race, Dialogue, and the Practice of Community Life

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Since the early 1990s, more than 400 cities across the United States, and many cities throughout the world, have implemented programs such as intergroup dialogues in which diverse groups of volunteers are recruited to come together over repeated sessions to talk about race and address the issue of race relations. There are many reasons to be skeptical of this form of public talk. And yet the fact remains that many people in many communities around the country are turning to it. Examining what they are actually doing with these dialogues on race brings us closer to understanding the nature of deliberative democracy. And it also sheds light on yet another pressing topic in contemporary civic life: how to create bonds across social divides. In recent years, this has been called the problem of creating bridging social capital. Although this “bridging” social capital is notoriously difficult to create, many claim that it is crucial for heterogeneous democracies.

Keywords: intergroup dialogues; race; race relations; deliberative democracy; civic life; social capital; public talk; social divides

Chapter.  6087 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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