Making Democracy Fun

Is this the best democracy can offer? In Making Democracy Fun, Josh Lerner offers a novel solution for the sad state of our deliberative democracy: the power of good game design.

Author: Josh A. Lerner

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262026871

Category: Games & Activities

Page: 288

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Drawing on the tools of game design to fix democracy. Anyone who has ever been to a public hearing or community meeting would agree that participatory democracy can be boring. Hours of repetitive presentations, alternatingly alarmist or complacent, for or against, accompanied by constant heckling, often with no clear outcome or decision. Is this the best democracy can offer? In Making Democracy Fun, Josh Lerner offers a novel solution for the sad state of our deliberative democracy: the power of good game design. What if public meetings featured competition and collaboration (such as team challenges), clear rules (presented and modeled in multiple ways), measurable progress (such as scores and levels), and engaging sounds and visuals? These game mechanics would make meetings more effective and more enjoyable—even fun. Lerner reports that institutions as diverse as the United Nations, the U.S. Army, and grassroots community groups are already using games and game-like processes to encourage participation. Drawing on more than a decade of practical experience and extensive research, he explains how games have been integrated into a variety of public programs in North and South America. He offers rich stories of game techniques in action, in children's councils, social service programs, and participatory budgeting and planning. With these real-world examples in mind, Lerner describes five kinds of games and twenty-six game mechanics that are especially relevant for democracy. He finds that when governments and organizations use games and design their programs to be more like games, public participation becomes more attractive, effective, and transparent. Game design can make democracy fun—and make it work.
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Everyone Counts

As more and more communities turn to participatory budgeting as a means of engaging citizens, prioritizing civic projects, and allocating local, state, and federal funding, this cogent volume will offer guidance and inspiration to others ...

Author: Josh Lerner

Publisher: Cornell University Press

ISBN: 9780801456060

Category: Political Science

Page: 56

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The Laurence and Lynne Brown Democracy Medal recognizes outstanding individuals, groups, and organizations that produce exceptional innovations to further democracy in the United States or around the world. The inaugural medal winner, the Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP), is an innovative not-for-profit organization that promotes "participatory budgeting," an inclusive process that empowers community members to make informed decisions about public spending. More than 46,000 people in communities across the United States have decided how to spend $45 million through programs that PBP helped spark over the last five years. In Everyone Counts, PBP co-founder and executive director Josh Lerner provides a concise history of the organization's origins and its vision, highlighting its real-world successes in fostering grassroots budgeting campaigns in such cities as New York, Boston, and Chicago. As more and more communities turn to participatory budgeting as a means of engaging citizens, prioritizing civic projects, and allocating local, state, and federal funding, this cogent volume will offer guidance and inspiration to others who want to transform democracy in the United States and elsewhere. “The Participatory Budgeting Project exemplifies the essential features the award committee was looking for in its inaugural recipient. Political and economic inequality is part of the American national discussion, and participatory budgeting helps empower marginalized groups that do not normally take part in a process that is so critical for democratic life.”— John Gastil, Director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy
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We the Gamers

J. Lerner, Making Democracy Fun: How Game Design Can Empower and Transform Politics (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014), p. 6. 33. Lerner, Making Democracy Fun, p. 3. He writes, “The legal regulations crated two compelling artificial ...

Author: Karen Schrier

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780190926137

Category: Games & Activities

Page: 224

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Distrust. Division. Disparity. Is our world in disrepair? Ethics and civics have always mattered, but perhaps they matter now more than ever before. Recently, with the rise of online teaching and movements like #PlayApartTogether, games have become increasingly acknowledged as platforms for civic deliberation and value sharing. We the Gamers explores these possibilities by examining how we connect, communicate, analyze, and discover when we play games. Combining research-based perspectives and current examples, this volume shows how games can be used in ethics, civics, and social studies education to inspire learning, critical thinking, and civic change. We the Gamers introduces and explores various educational frameworks through a range of games and interactive experiences including board and card games, online games, virtual reality and augmented reality games, and digital games like Minecraft, Executive Command, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, Fortnite, When Rivers Were Trails, Politicraft, Quandary, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The book systematically evaluates the types of skills, concepts, and knowledge needed for civic and ethical engagement, and details how games can foster these skills in classrooms, remote learning environments, and other educational settings. We the Gamers also explores the obstacles to learning with games and how to overcome those obstacles by encouraging equity and inclusion, care and compassion, and fairness and justice. Featuring helpful tips and case studies, We the Gamers shows teachers the strengths and limitations of games in helping students connect with civics and ethics, and imagines how we might repair and remake our world through gaming, together.
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Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy

In Making Democracy Fun, Josh Lerner (2014) not only documents the increasing use of games in public participation, but also unpacks the ways in which participatory processes can be gratifying to participants.

Author: Tina Nabatchi

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 9781118688533

Category: Political Science

Page: 368

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A comprehensive text on the theory and practice of public participation Written by two leaders in the field, Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy explores the theory and practice of public participation in decision-making and problem-solving. It examines how public participation developed over time to include myriad thick, thin, and conventional opportunities, occurring in both face-to-face meetings and online settings. The book explores the use of participation in various arenas, including education, health, land use, and state and federal government. It offers a practical framework for thinking about how to engage citizens effectively, and clear explanations of participation scenarios, tactics, and designs. Finally, the book provides a sensible approach for reshaping our participation infrastructure to meet the needs of public officials and citizens. The book is filled with illustrative examples of innovative participatory activities, and numerous sources for more information. This important text puts the spotlight on the need for long-term, cross-sector, participation planning, and provides guidance for leaders, citizens, activists, and others who are determined to improve the ways that participation and democracy function. Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy: Helps students and practitioners understand the history, theory, and practice of public participation Contains a wealth of case studies that explore the application of public participation in different settings Covers vital issues such as education, health, land use, and state and federal government Has accompanying instructor resources, such as PowerPoint slides, discussion questions, sample assignments, case studies and research from, and classroom activities.
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Creating Spaces of Engagement

In Making Democracy Fun, Josh Lerner says that, aside from the usual critiques of democratic institutions, such as changing voter expectations, cynicism, and lack of trust in public officials, for most people “democratic participation ...

Author: Leah R.E. Levac

Publisher: University of Toronto Press

ISBN: 9781487523251


Page: 472

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Policy justice requires engagement of diverse people, knowledges, and forms of evidence at all stages of the policy-making process, from problem definition through to dissemination.
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Improv for Democracy

making connections with research and outside fields of practice. 50. ... Joshua A. Lerner, Making Democracy Fun: How Game Design Can Empower Citizens and Transform Politics (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014), 13, 15. 57. Ibid., 3. 58.

Author: Don Waisanen

Publisher: SUNY Press

ISBN: 9781438481173

Category: Political Science

Page: 280

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Explores how improv-based teaching and training methods can bridge differences and promote the communication, leadership, and civil skills our world urgently needs. While much has been written about what democracies should look like, much less has been said about how to actually train citizens in democratic perspectives and skills. Amid the social and political crises of our time, many programs seeking to bridge differences between citizens draw from the surprising field of improvisational theater. Improv trains people to engage with one another in ways that promote empathy and understanding. Don Waisanen demonstrates how improv-based teaching and training methods can forward the communication, leadership, and civic skills our world urgently needs. Waisanen includes specific exercises and thought experiments that can be used by educators; advocates for civic engagement and civil discourse; practitioners and scholars in communication, leadership, and conflict management; training and development specialists; administrators looking to build new curricula or programming; and professionals seeking to embed productive, sustainable, and socially responsible forms of interaction in and across organizations. Ultimately this book offers a new approach for helping people become more creative, heighten awareness, think faster, build confidence, operate flexibly, improve expression and governance skills, and above all, think and act more democratically. Don Waisanen is Professor of Communication at the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College, City University of New York. He is the author of Political Conversion: Personal Transformation as Strategic Public Communication.
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Democratic by Design

For a different approach to solving the problems of collective decisionmaking in the real world, see Josh Lerner, Making Democracy Fun: How Game Design Can Empower Citizens and Transform Politics (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2014).

Author: Gabriel Metcalf

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 9781466879287

Category: Political Science

Page: 256

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Americans have, since our founding, participated in a variety of alternative institutions--self-organized projects that work outside the traditional structures of government and business to change society. From the town meetings that still serve as our ideal of self-governance, to the sustainable food movement that is changing the way we think about farming the land and feeding our families, these secondary structures have given rise to many of our most exciting and important innovations. Yet most people still know little about them, even as their numbers and their influence increase. In today's climate of widespread economic inequity, political gridlock and daunting environmental challenges, we sorely need a fresh approach to social and political change. In Democratic by Design, Gabriel Metcalf sketches out a strategy that starts with small-scale, living examples of a better society that can ultimately scale up to widespread social transformation. Using examples like car-sharing organizations, community land trusts, credit unions, workers co-ops, citizen juries, community-supported agriculture farms, mission-driven corporations, and others, Democratic by Design shows how alternative institutions can be the crucial spark for a broad new progressive movement.
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Mending Democracy

Making democracy fun : how game design can empower citizens and transform politics . Cambridge Ma : MIT Press . Lethbridge , Jane . 2019. Democratic professionalism in public services . Bristol : Policy Press . Levine , Peter . 2013.

Author: Carolyn M. Hendriks

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 9780198843054


Page: 208

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This book develops the idea of democratic mending as a way of advancing a more connective and systemic approach to democratic repair.
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Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance

Kreiss, D. (2016), Prototype Politics: Technology-Intensive Campaigning and the Data of Democracy, New York: Oxford University Press. Lerner, J.A. (2014), Making Democracy Fun: How Game Design Can Empower Citizens and Transform Politics ...

Author: Stephen Elstub

Publisher: Edward Elgar Publishing

ISBN: 9781786433862

Category: Political Science

Page: 624

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Democratic innovations are proliferating in politics, governance, policy, and public administration. These new processes of public participation are reimagining the relationship between citizens and institutions. This Handbook advances understanding of democratic innovations, in theory and practice, by critically reviewing their importance throughout the world. The overarching themes are a focus on citizens and their relationship to these innovations, and the resulting effects on political equality. The Handbook therefore offers a definitive overview of existing research on democratic innovations, while also setting the agenda for future research and practice.
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The nascent democracies had a Darwinian advantage over monarchies; they spread because their workers and elites ... 11Josh Lerner, Making Democracy Fun: How Game Design Can Empower Citizens and Transform Politics (Cambridge: MIT Press, ...

Author: Vassiliki Rapti

Publisher: Springer Nature

ISBN: 9789811574351

Category: Social Science

Page: 470

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This book establishes play as a mode of humanistic inquiry with a profound effect on art, culture and society. Play is treated as a dynamic and relational modality where relationships of all kinds are forged and inquisitive interdisciplinary engagement is embraced. Play cultivates reflection, connection, and creativity, offering new epistemological directions for the humanities. With examples from a range of disciplines including poetry, history, science, religion and media, this book treats play as an object of inquiry, but also as a mode of inquiry. The chapters, each focusing on a specific cultural phenomenon, do not simply put culture on display, they put culture in play, providing a playful lens through which to see the world. The reader is encouraged to read the chapters in this book out of order, allowing constructive collision between ideas, moments in history, and theoretical perspectives. The act of reading this book, like the project of the humanities itself, should be emergent, generative, and playful.
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