BOOKQUICK/New from the University Press

“Public Discourse in America: Conversation and Community in the Twenty-First Century”


Edited by Judith Rodin and Stephen P. Steinberg
304 Pages, $29.95 cloth

Public Discourse in America, edited by President Judith Rodin and Stephen P. Steinberg, executive director of the Penn National Commission on Society, Culture and Community, brings together a group of scholars and prominent figures in American public life to offer new perspectives on the tenor and conduct of public life in contemporary America.

Ranging from the health care debate to affirmative action, these essays explore the current condition of public discourse in our democracy, investigating how it has changed through our history, and whether it fails to approach our widely held but often unarticulated ideal of "reasoned and reasonable" public deliberation.

Taking a comprehensive look at institutional and leadership practices in recent public debates over a variety of major public policy issues, Public Discourse in America outlines how such conversations can be used to reintegrate our fragmented communities and bridge barriers of difference and hostility among communities and individuals.

Readers of all political persuasions, from the halls of political power to the streets of urban neighborhoods, from newsrooms and studios to think tanks and universities, will find that Public Discourse in America opens up new paths to robust public discussion, more engaged citizenship, and stronger communities.

Contributors include Joyce Appleby, Thomas Bender, Derek Bok, Alex Boraine, Graham G. Dodds, Christopher Edley, Jr., Drew Gilpin Faust, Neal Gabler, Richard Lapchick, Don M. Randel, Richard Rodriguez, Jay Rosen, David M. Ryfe, Michael Schudson, Neil Smelser, and Robert H. Wiebe.

— University of Pennsylvania Press

Originally published on September 4, 2003