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Five books about public participation

We’re at it again. Curating a list of the best public participation books of the past year; a follow-up to our popular Top 5 Public Participation Books From 2014 post. In order to do so, we’ve scoured the internet far and wide for the books that will make you think differently about public participation and help inspire, innovate and inform better community engagement practice.

They range from deep overviews of practice to the psychology of civic engagement to how to professional development for practitioners.

Here’s our list of the top 5 public participation books of 2015 and 2016 (so far!):

1. Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy

Top 5 Public Participation Books Of 2015 & 2016 (so far!)

Tina Nabatchi, Matt Leighninger

The blurb:

Written by two leaders in the field, Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy explores the theory and practice of public participation in decision-making and problem-solving. It examines how public participation developed over time to include myriad thick, thin, and conventional opportunities, occurring in both face-to-face meetings and online settings. The book explores the use of participation in various arenas, including education, health, land use, and state and federal government. It offers a practical framework for thinking about how to engage citizens effectively, and clear explanations of participation scenarios, tactics, and designs. Finally, the book provides a sensible approach for reshaping our participation infrastructure to meet the needs of public officials and citizens.

The book is filled with illustrative examples of innovative participatory activities, and numerous sources for more information. This important text puts the spotlight on the need for long-term, cross-sector, participation planning, and provides guidance for leaders, citizens, activists, and others who are determined to improve the ways that participation and democracy function.

Click here for purchase details.

2. From Voice To Influence: Understanding Citizenship In A Digital Age

9780226262260Edited by Danielle Allen and Jennifer S. Light

The blurb:

How have online protests—like the recent outrage over the Komen Foundation’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood—changed the nature of political action? How do Facebook and other popular social media platforms shape the conversation around current political issues? The ways in which we gather information about current events and communicate it with others have been transformed by the rapid rise of digital media. The political is no longer confined to the institutional and electoral arenas, and that has profound implications for how we understand citizenship and political participation.

Drawing on a diverse body of theory, from Hannah Arendt to Anthony Appiah, From Voice to Influence offers a range of distinctive visions for a political ethics to guide citizens in a digitally connected world.

Click here for purchase details.

3. Evaluating e-Participation: Frameworks, Practice, Evidence

Edited by: Georg Aichholzer, Herbert Kubicek, Lourdes Torres (Eds.)Top 5 Public Participation Books Of 2015 & 2016 (so far!)

The blurb:

There is a widely acknowledged evaluation gap in the field of e-participation practice and research, a lack of systematic evaluation with regard to process organization, outcome and impacts. This book addresses the state of the art of e-participation research and the existing evaluation gap by reviewing various evaluation approaches and providing a multidisciplinary concept for evaluating the output, outcome and impact of citizen participation via the Internet as well as via traditional media. It offers new knowledge based on empirical results of its application (tailored to different forms and levels of e-participation) in an international comparative perspective.

The book will advance the academic study and practical application of e-participation through fresh insights, largely drawing on theoretical arguments and empirical research results gained in the European collaborative project “e2democracy”. It applies the same research instruments to a set of similar citizen participation processes in seven local communities in three countries (Austria, Germany and Spain). The generic evaluation framework has been tailored to a tested toolset, and the presentation and discussion of related evaluation results aims at clarifying to what extent these tools can be applied to other consultation and collaboration processes, making the book of interest to policymakers and scholars alike.

 Click here for purchase details.

4. Diving Deep in Community Engagement: A Model for Professional Development

By Mandi McReynolds, Emily ShieldsTop 5 Public Participation Books Of 2015 & 2016 (so far!)

 In Summer 2013, a group of practitioner-scholars in higher education community engagement committed to developing a new resource to help guide professional development, career advancement, and unit guidance in the civic and community engagement field. Through a collective process, they developed a framework of competencies for community engagement professionals. These four areas, as outlined in the publication, are Organizational Manager, Institutional Strategic Leader, Field Contributor, and Community Innovator. The purpose of the book is to support strategic professional development and it should be used to help community engagement professionals to reflect on their own practice and growth. This reflective practice should be connected to wider discussions of how campuses can continue to institutionalize civic and community engagement, and the book provides concrete ways for community engagement professionals to link personal vocation to systemic change.

The purpose of the book is to support strategic professional development and it should be used to help community engagement professionals to reflect on their own practice and growth. This reflective practice should be connected to wider discussions of how campuses can continue to institutionalize civic and community engagement, and the book provides concrete ways for community engagement professionals to link personal vocation to systemic change.

Click here for purchase details.

5. The Psychology of Citizenship and Civic Engagement

By S. Mark Pancer, Ph.D.Top 5 Public Participation Books Of 2015 & 2016 (so far!)

The blurb:

Citizens’ sense of responsibility to their community and to their nation is becoming a topic of growing concern. Recent research indicates that citizens of the United States and many other nations have become increasingly disconnected from their fellow community members, and when this connection is lost, individuals begin to suffer. They experience poorer health, achieve lower academic and employment success, and are at risk for the development of a host of social problems. On a broader level, states and countries whose citizens feel detached from their communities show higher levels of crime, a greater incidence of disease, and even higher mortality rates.

In The Psychology of Citizenship and Civic Engagement, S. Mark Pancer explores the development of civic engagement, the factors that influence its development, and the impacts of civic involvement on the individual, the community, and society. Pancer examines civic engagement over the lifespan and how the effects of early experiences and influences exerted by peers, families, and religious organizations shape adult involvement. By addressing civic engagement from a systemic as well as individual perspective, this book discusses the role that factors such as government policy, culture, and socioeconomic status play in fostering (or inhibiting) a person’s civic connections. Pancer also works toward a solution to increase active citizenship by identifying gaps in research and theory and outlining ways in which scholarly work on civic engagement can inform policy and practice, with the aim to foster individuals sense of responsibility and community connection. By bringing together a large body of research from psychology, political science, sociology, education, and public health, Pancer provides readers with a comprehensive account of what science tells us about civic engagement.

Click here for purchase details.

What other public participation and community engagement books do you recommend?

 

 

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