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Unpublished Paper
Public Engagement in the Obama Administration: Building a Democracy Bubble?
  • Thomas A Bryer, University of Central Florida

Following the Bush Administration, the Obama team enhanced access for citizens to participatory venues. Extending and enhancing access gives citizens opportunity to develop their citizenship skills, potentially influence policy, and potentially become better connected to community life. The Administration can be applauded for participatory innovations, but the Administration needs to proceed strategically to ensure the innovations do not produce more harm than good and to ensure that the real change they are producing is not whisked away in the next Administration as rapidly as an information cascade infects the citizenry. This article develops the idea of a democracy bubble as the intersection of wide open access to participatory venues and inflated citizen expectations for what the participatory processes can deliver. It develops related ideas of a democracy crater, democracy dropouts, and democracy demand. Three Obama Administration participation initiatives are assessed for their potential to lead to a democracy bubble; implications are explored; corrective actions are suggested.

  • Obama,
  • civic engagement
Publication Date
Citation Information
Thomas A Bryer. "Public Engagement in the Obama Administration: Building a Democracy Bubble?" (2010)
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