Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Glossary, courtesy of the Minnesota Active Citizenship Initiative

I often use terminology in discussing civic engagement and public work that I worry can be considered jargon. To attempt to remedy this issue and support my future blog posts, I'm sharing a brief, but useful guide from the September/October 2009 Minnesota Journal published by the Citizens League. Find out more about the Minnesota Active Citizenship Initiative, to which the League belongs, and their work behind these words.

Active citizen • An obligated, governing member who contributes to the common good.

Civic infrastructure • The interrelated economic, physical, political, and social structures, processes, and practices that support and drive a democracy.

Civic capacity • The ability to contribute to the good of the whole within the tensions between democratic ideals and the real social, economic, and environmental situation. Civic capacity is developed through practice in everyday institutions using the skills of public deliberation, public problem solving, and public policymaking.

Civic leader • A leader with an intentional agenda to increase the civic capacity of self, the institution, and the whole with attention to the economic, ethical, and civic consequences of his
or her actions.

Civic organizing • The political work of developing public relationships among individuals and across institutions in order to establish a base of citizen leaders with the power to create the
common good and justice.

Common good • Found in the tension between what is good for the parts and what is good for the whole. Understood by engaging people with diverse interests and negotiating to find agreement based on shared civic values, that is mutually acceptable.

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