Cultivating Deliberative Democracy Through Adult Civic Education: The Ideas And Work That Shaped Farmer Discussion Groups And Schools Of Philosophy In The New Deal Department Of Agriculture, Land-Grant Universities, And Cooperative Extension Service
This dissertation explores the ideas and philosophies of government administrators that animated a deliberative democracy effort which took place in rural communities in the 1930s and 1940s under the auspices of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in partnership with the Cooperative Extension Service and land-grant universities. It is the construction of a narrative about civic professionals cultivating spaces for citizens to become informed and educated about public problems. This deliberative democracy effort was an extraordinary attempt to take seriously the problem that people were not thought of as citizens and that there were implications when we failed to recognize them as such. This dissertation is based on a central question: how did government administrators function as civic professionals committed to helping people become informed and engaged citizens? This study is told as a prophetic narrative, emphasizing the thoughts and ideas of those who brought these efforts to life. As a historical study, this dissertation explores the development of institutions such as landgrant universities, Cooperative Extension, and the USDA. It also focuses on the ideas and actions of key leaders, such as M. L. Wilson, Henry A. Wallace, and Carl F. Taeusch, who brought farmer discussion groups and Schools of Philosophy for Extension Workers to life. It concludes with lessons for today's scholars and practitioners of the university engagement and the civic renewal movements.
Deliberative democracy; Civic professionalism; Public philosophy
Forester, John F; Decker, Daniel Joseph
Ph. D., Education
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis