To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Building America: The Democratic Promise of Public Work Paperback – May 24, 1996
ITPro.TV Video Training
Take advantage of IT courses online anywhere, anytime with ITPro.TV. Learn more.
From the Back Cover
Throughout history, work has always been the taproot of American democracy, enabling diverse people to forge connections with each other and to address the nation's problems. Through work, people gain greater visibility, authority, and a larger intellectual horizon. They come to see themselves as creators of their communities, stakeholders in the country, and guardians of the commonwealth.
Building America, in a pathbreaking analysis of diverse civic practices, argues that work is the center of effective citizenship. As late as the New Deal Era, Abraham Lincoln's idea of work-centered government remained vibrant and fueled reform movements like union organizing. Many jobs, local schools, community groups, the Civilian Conservation Corp., and other settings provided rich experiences in public work. Images of work filled popular cultureWill Rogers movies, Langston Hughes's poetry, post office art. But today, work has lost its larger meaning, and government has become largely a service provider.
From low income communities to colleges, high-tech newspapers to government agencies and schools, Harry C. Boyte and Nancy N. Kari look to the revival of public-spirited work as a key to the rebirth of democracy in our time. Their exploration of the larger meanings of work leads to provocatively different approaches to change. These include many examples of citizen-government partnership in solving problems. By working on school reform and economic development in Baltimore, the mainly black group BUILD created a public space for overcoming searing racial divisions. Boyte and Kari explore new initiatives like the public journalism movement aimed at strengthening journalists' responsibilities to improve democracy. They offer lessons for turning jobs into public work in our changing economy. Building America concludes with a call for national action to renew the idea of "government by the people" through public work. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
If you have ever felt angry or disillusioned about government as an increasingly larger service provider, the disproportionate power of experts and political professionals in our government, and the growing cynicism and lack of faith in American politics, then this book will replenish your energy with historical references from the Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King Jr, and offers a number of contemporary, hands-on examples of how democracy is being revitalized throughout the United States.
Much of what Boyte and Kari write of, to me, reinforced the mainstay of Roosevelt's New Deal policies of putting people back to work -- which ultimately restored their dignatity, created identity as people contributed to society, and restored faith in American Democracy. This was an unparalled time in American History, where the people believed in their leader, accepted common values, and reuninited a fractured nation -- all on social-psychological terms based on collective participation in public life.
I found this to be a very interesting and informative book. The book is relatively easy to read, and reframes the the problems of public work and democracy from a historical context -- which from my eyes makes it a very educational and worthwhile work.
In fact, this book actually got me through the recent Sept. 11, 2001 events in NYC. I read it under the instruction of my College English Professor. At first it seemed overwhelming, but before long there was a feeling of hope.
The United States over the years has faced phenomenal obstacles...time and time again we have come back and stronger than ever each time. It focuses on how people, like you and me have taken an initiative for positive change and have succeeded, time and time again. Using actual historical events to back the ideas presented.
This book is intense, yet simple. It proves without a doubt the important role each of us plays directly affects the outcome as a whole of this our United States.
I highly recommend it.