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Preface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 April 2023

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Summary

Can a society truly govern itself for the common good? Until 2016, the prevailing view was still that a basic voting system with no means for adjudicating between true and false claims would be sufficient. Then came the twin shocks of Brexit and Trump, and many realised belatedly that mass deception and the promotion of prejudice could easily subvert democracy and defeat their opponents. By 2018, when my book Time to Save Democracy was published by Policy Press, there was intense interest in finding ways to protect our collective selfgovernance from abuse and manipulation.

I decided to follow up on the strategic analyses and recommendations set out in Time to Save Democracy with more detailed exposition of why and how a number of policies and practices should be introduced. This involves showing what governments and communities could do to complement each other in strengthening our civic cohesion and capacity for collective problem-solving. The first part of this task was completed with the help of a team of leading experts on how governments can develop more informed and collaborative relations with citizens. The result was Whose Government Is It? – a critical guide to what changes should be pursued, what pitfalls to avoid and how obstacles could be overcome.

The second part of the task is to show how, in parallel with changes to the way governments operate, communities themselves can play a critical role in tackling the problems they face and improving everyone's quality of life. That is the aim of this book. With Tomorrow's Communities, I have again been fortunate in being able to bring together prominent researchers and practitioners to explain what evidence points to as the key changes that can make a difference in initiating and sustaining community-based transformation.

The contributors to this book possess an unrivalled track record in examining what works and what does not in enabling communities to advance their wellbeing. From them, there is no idealisation of ‘community’, just evidence-based analysis of why certain routes are more likely than others to help people collaborate, with each other and with public institutions, in attaining a better future.

I would like to share a collective sigh of relief with all the contributors to this book that whatever else the COVID-19 pandemic stopped us doing in our own lives, it did not prevent us from producing this book together.

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Tomorrow's Communities
Lessons for Community-Based Transformation in the Age of Global Crises
, pp. xi - xii
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Preface
  • Edited by Henry Tam
  • Book: Tomorrow's Communities
  • Online publication: 11 April 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.46692/9781447361138.001
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Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Preface
  • Edited by Henry Tam
  • Book: Tomorrow's Communities
  • Online publication: 11 April 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.46692/9781447361138.001
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Preface
  • Edited by Henry Tam
  • Book: Tomorrow's Communities
  • Online publication: 11 April 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.46692/9781447361138.001
Available formats
×