The American Political Science Association’s annual meeting will be in Los Angeles from August 31-Sept 3, 2023. The overall conference theme is “Rights and Responsibilities in an Age of Mis- and Disinformation.” (But most papers do not address the annual theme.)
The Civic Studies Related Group invites proposals for panels, round tables, and individual papers that make a significant contribution to the civic studies field; articulate a civic studies perspective on some important issue; or contribute to theoretical, empirical, or practical debates in civic studies. We especially encourage proposals that emphasize actual or potential civic responses to current social and political crises, their origins, and possible consequences.
Recent civic studies sessions have included a panel on how COVID-19 affected civil society and an authors’ roundtable on the books Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy by Robert C. Lieberman and Suzanne Mettler and The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again by Robert D. Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett.
Civic studies is a field defined by diversity yet connected by participants’ commitments to promoting interdisciplinary research, theory, and practice in support of civic renewal: the strengthening of civic (i.e., citizen-powered and citizen-empowering) politics, initiatives, institutions, and culture. Its concern is not with citizenship understood as legal membership in a particular polity, but with guiding civic ideals and a practical ethos embraced by individuals loyal to, empowered by, and invested in the communities they form and re-form together. Its goal is to promote these ideals through improved institutional designs, enhanced public deliberation, new and improved forms of public work among citizens, or clearer and more imaginative political theory.
The civic studies framework adopted in 2007 cites two ideals for the emerging discipline: “public spiritedness” (or “commitment to the public good”) and “the idea of the citizen as a creative agent.” Civic studies is an intellectual community that takes these two ideals seriously. Although new, it draws from several important strands of ongoing research and theory, including the work of Elinor and Vincent Ostrom and the Bloomington School, of Juergen Habermas and critical social theory, Brent Flyvbjerg and social science as phronesis, and more diffuse traditions such as philosophical pragmatism, Gandhian nonviolence, the African American Freedom Struggle. It supports work on deliberative democracy, on public work, on civic engagement and community organizing, among others.
To propose a session, click here. You do not have to be a political scientist, but you would have to attend APSA 2023 in person. APSA members can also join the Civic Studies group (free) at this link.