Getting Democracy Just Right

Copyright: Prude University


Getting Democracy Just Right

The Hall

A Weekly Lecture on Political Engagement with Mary Scudder.

What is the minimum level of political engagement that a person must maintain to meet the demands of democratic life? Recent work on “standby citizens,” has shown that while some people are genuinely passive, others only appear to be. If we look beyond participation to consider the question of attention or reflectivity, we see that some are “standing by,” ready to step in if necessary (Amna and Ekman 2014, MacKenzie and Moore 2020, Elliott 2023). While the distinction between political participation and political attention is useful, it can be over interpreted. By viewing political attention or reflectivity as a kind of “pre-participation,” we inadvertently reinforce the depreciation of this important task of democratic citizenship.

We are pleased to welcome Mary Scudder as a guest of the Depolarizing Public Debates program.


Mary Scudder is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Purdue University. She is an expert on empathy and listening in political communication and, amongst other publications, author of the two books “The Two Faces of Democracy: Decentering Agonism and Deliberation” and “Beyond Empathy and Inclusion: The Challenge of Listening in Democratic Deliberation".


This lecture is a closed event. If you have any questions about this event, please contact Louisa Pröschel. Press inquiries can be made here.

| stay informed | stay connected


What is happening at THE NEW INSTITUTE? Step inside by following our institutional newsletter, which ties together the work of our fellows and programs, where the whole is more than the sum of its parts.


We use cookies to measure how often our site is visited and how it is used. You can withdraw your consent at any time with effect for the future. For further information, please refer to our privacy policy.