Monthly Archives: July 2010

on vacation

We’re going to Europe until August 5, taking advantage of frequent flier miles to get to Munich and then driving south into the Tyrolean Alps. I’ll be as offline as the nuns in this ancient convent (or maybe more so) … Continue reading

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what parents (and other adults) want from schools

These are some interesting tidbits from a recent (June 2010) Public Agenda survey of 1,400 Americans, including 646 parents of kids currently enrolled in k-12 schools. First, people are more concerned about behavioral issues than about academic “performance,” as that … Continue reading

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we need more branches of government

Two very different authors whom we assigned in our summer institute both advocate adding branches to the traditional troika (legislative, executive, and judicial).* In general, a “branch” is a part of government with distinctive guiding principles and forms and functions … Continue reading

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scrambling the ideological spectrum

Here is a quote from a text that we assigned for today’s session of the Tufts Summer Institute of Civic Studies: The first [kind of knowledge] is what may be acquired through intelligence, through the book or classroom, and skill … Continue reading

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A Nation of Spectators

In 1998, the National Commission on Civic Renewal issued its final report entitled A Nation of Spectators. (I was the deputy director of the Commission; Bill Galston was the director.) It had a website: static and simple by today’s standards, … Continue reading

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the visionary fire of Roberto Mangabeira Unger

We are deep into our annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies, with as much as six-and-a-half-hours of class and many hundreds of pages of reading each day. The most blogging I can manage will be less-than-daily notes about the texts … Continue reading

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Bent Flyvbjerg’s radical alternative to applied social science

Bent Flyvbjerg is one of the authors we teach in our Summer Institute of Civic Studies. He is a Danish social scientist who has developed a radical ideal of social research that he calls “phronesis” (Greek for “prudence” or “practical … Continue reading

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I presume the world is still going to hell …

… but I am not paying the normal amount of attention to it, because we are deep into the Summer Institute of Civic Studies at Tufts: five-and-one-half hours of seminar each day (plus the regular flow of work). Blogging will … Continue reading

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how a community can own a resource

Garrett Hardin’s “The Tragedy of the Commons” is one of the most frequently cited articles of the 20th century. Hardin argued that a valuable resource must be owned. If it is left unowned, it will be consumed and not replenished. … Continue reading

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on hope as an intellectual virtue

My favorite empirical research programs try to help something good work in the world. For instance, scholars who study Positive Youth Development assess initiatives that give young people opportunities to contribute to their communities. Scholars of Common Pool Resources study … Continue reading

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