Searching for a New Paradigm: Collective Settings

A partnership between More in Common and the SNF Agora Institute

Searching for a New Paradigm: Collective Settings,” by More in Common and SNF Agora, is a report that seeks to re-articulate a long-standing paradigm for making democracy work. This is a paradigm that the authors believe has gotten lost in the attention economy that drives much of American politics. Investing in the design and distribution of civic infrastructure may not be the approach that garners the viral attention that often drives action, the authors say, but it is necessary for preparing our people and our communities for the inevitable uncertainties that we will face in the future. The authors write, “By investing in collective settings, we hope to develop the muscles for democracy that people and communities will need to seek, identify, and implement shared solutions that do not accept the world as it is but instead create the world they need.”

The report emerges from a collaboration between SNF Agora Institute and More in Common to organize convenings and joint research focused on synthesizing the evidence base for how we create collective settings that develop the behaviors and orientations that underlie a culture of democracy, and proposing a research agenda for moving forward.

This collaboration has driven efforts to conceptualize, test, measure, and evaluate new interventions for shaping a positive culture of democracy. The two organizations have convened participants, including researchers and practitioners from a diverse set of fields and backgrounds: researchers and academics from political science, psychology, communications, and sociology; advocates and campaigners from democracy reform and racial justice; civil servants from local, state, and federal government; and grassroots practitioners from association organizations concerned with civic engagement, behavior, and values.

Continue reading the report.