CHALLENGING POLITICAL SPECTACLE THROUGH GRASSROOTS POLICY DIALOGUES
Can simply talking about policy strengthen democracy? Drawing on data collected for case studies of one Canadian and two U.S. grassroots organizations, we demonstrate that taking part in policy dialogues hosted by grassroots organizations enables participants to gain greater clarity regarding policy issues, policy processes, and citizens’ perspectives and enhances some participants’ ability to take direct action in policy processes. These outcomes, and the opportunities for authentic engagement in policy processes offered by grassroots policy dialogues, can help challenge contemporary policy processes characterized as political spectacle, and, ultimately, enhance democracy in education. Implications of the findings for grassroots organizations and the field of community organizing are also discussed.
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