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Tocqueville vs. The Full Monty

(p.144) Chapter 6 Conclusion
Attention Deficit Democracy
Ben Berger
Princeton University Press

This book has argued that civic engagement is a hopelessly confusing term and therefore should give way to political, social, and moral engagement. It has also critiqued idealistic conceptions of participatory democracy for aiming for the Full Monty: high and widespread political engagement among all citizens, all (or much) of the time, in spite of citizens' long-standing inclinations toward the opposite. Some idealistic theories of democracy, the Full Monty versions, have asked too much of citizens' tastes, attention, and energy. This concluding chapter proposes three approaches to improving democracy that conform to Alexis de Tocqueville's premises and insights: changing our approach to politics and political mobilization, changing ourselves, and changing our institutions.

Keywords:   civic engagement, political engagement, social engagement, moral engagement, participatory democracy, politics, Alexis de Tocqueville, political mobilization

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