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professions and citizenship

NEW Policy Brief: Architects and Citizenship

In the latest addition to “The Professions and Civic Culture” series, Williams College professor of art history Michael J. Lewis discusses the idea of “architectural citizenship” and the role architects play in American civic life. According to Lewis, the making of any building is a social act that stakes a claim on finite resources of land and space and that can enhance the value of the buildings around it or diminish it. Only the most solitary and remote building is without implications for society.


Toqueville’s “Most Powerful Barrier”: Lawyers in Civic Society

In the latest addition to “The Professions and Civic Culture” series, Weekly Standard contributor and Washington, DC lawyer Adam J. White discusses the evolution of American lawyers. His essay, “Tocqueville’s ‘Most Powerful Barrier’: Lawyers in Civic Society,” argues that profound changes in the legal profession have undermined lawyers’ role as a natural brake against the “revolutionary spirit and unreflective passions of democracy” that Alexis de Tocqueville admired in 19th century American lawyers.


A Response to James Ceaser’s “The Role of Political Science and Political Scientists in Civic Education”

Last week, University of Virginia professor James W. Ceaser’s essay discussed the divided state of modern political science. This week, Peter Levine of CIRCLE responded to Ceaser’s piece, agreeing that political science ought to take a more active role in civic education.


The Role of Political Science and Political Scientists in Civic Education

In the latest addition to “The Professions and Civic Culture” series, University of Virginia professor James W. Ceaser discusses the divided state of modern political science. His essay, “The Role of Political Science and Political Scientists in Civic Education,” argues that the field has moved in two opposing directions — one toward greater concern with civic education, with an emphasis on producing engaged citizens who can transform the political order, and the other (and more dominant one) toward a positivist political research agenda that is agnostic about the principles and ends of the American constitutional order.


The Future of Journalism and Citzenship

In the latest addition to our “Professions and Civic Culture” series, Christopher Caldwell from The Weekly Standard discusses the evolving role of journalism in American public life. The essay, “The Future of Journalism and Citizenship,” considers the intimate relationship journalism has with citizenship, and argues that the information revolution has fundamentally altered that relationship.


Military Seen as Contributing Most to Society

Despite contentious conflicts abroad, Americans continue to hold the military in the highest regard. A new poll by Pew asked Americans which professions contribute to society’s well-being, and the results may surprise you.


Economists and Res Publica

In the third in a series of policy briefs by AEI’s Program on American Citizenship, Steven E. Rhoads, professor of politics at the University of Virginia and author of The Economist’s View of the World: Government, Markets and Public Policy, explores the virtues and limits of thinking like an economist when it comes to matters of citizenship.


AEI Report: Educating for Liberty? The Shortcomings of Contemporary Civic Education Theories

Education for Liberty?
The Shortcomings of Contemporary Civic Education Theories
By Rita Koganzon
(August 6, 2012) 

It is widely accepted that some form of civic education is necessary to sustain America’s liberal-democratic regime and the freedoms Americans enjoy. However, when we get to specifics about what a civic education should entail, this easy consensus falls away. As civic theorist and Brookings Institution scholar William Galston has observed, “Public education . . . is close to the heart of Americans’ understanding of democracy, and debates about education are bound to reflect competing and evolving conceptions of what democracy requires.”

Yet, it was not until the late 1980s that academic political theorists truly entered into the dispute over civic education. When they did—beginning with Amy Gutmann’s 1987 book Democratic Education—it was in light of two important developments in American political life: the precipitous decline in political participation after the 1960s and the simultaneous rise of ‘culture war’ politics. These developments alarmed political scientists in general, but some political theorists found the increasingly visible and vocal social conservatism of the Right during the Reagan Administration particularly threatening to the Rawlsian vision of a just—redistributive, publically secular, and pluralistic—society. In response, they turned to public schools in the hope that they could produce politically engaged citizens committed to liberal democracy.

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