In this collection of original essays, empirical analysts and theorists across disciplines turn a critical eye to a variety of recent institutional forms and styles of innovation. They examine lived reality and theoretical underpinning, promise and accomplishment, but also the pitfalls and capacity-building challenges that face virtually all attempts to bring citizen voice, knowledge, and skill to the center of public problem solving. Their analyses are both hopeful and hard-headed and are guided by commitments to help understand appropriate fit and realistic sustainability. Cases include face-to-face deliberation, online networking and citizen journalism, policy forums, and community and stakeholder planning sessions across local, state and federal contexts. Policy issues run a broad gamut from community and regional economic development and environmental sustainability to minority rights and gay marriage.
Jennifer Girouard is a PhD candidate in Sociology at Brandeis University.Carmen Sirianni is the Morris Hillquit Professor at Brandeis University and Faculty Fellow, Ash Center for Democratic Governance, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. His most recent book is Investing in Democracy: Engaging Citizens in Collaborative Governance (Brookings 2009), and he is currently working on a two-volume study, Self-Governance in American Political Development.