Chapter

Public Officials and Residents in Dialogue

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226869087.003.0009
Public Officials and Residents in Dialogue

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Activities that are part of the fabric of civic life need not involve public officials, but there is no doubt that civil society and government are intertwined. Despite this intertwining, in the contemporary United States the public can feel that government is quite distant from them. In the last five decades, governments have shifted from providing services and administering policies on their own to doing so through public-private collaborations. Lester Salamon explains that what was once easily referred to as “government” is now a complex and elaborate process of “governance.” This “new governance” complicates the job of both citizens and officials. It is now even more difficult for members of the public to make sense of public policy and government action. Most cities have institutionalized government-resident deliberation. Public hearings, for example, are a longstanding and common fixture in U.S. communities. The intergroup dialogues that communities are conducting around the country may create a new type of context for citizen-government interaction. An initiative that is often interwoven with civic dialogue programs is community policing.

Keywords: civic life; civil society; public officials; United States; governance; deliberation; intergroup dialogues; community policing; citizen-government interaction

Chapter.  14590 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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