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Town Hall Meetings and the Death of Deliberation
by Jonathan Beecher Field
University of Minnesota Press, 2019
eISBN: 978-1-4529-6238-2 | Paper: 978-1-5179-0856-0


Tracing the erosion of democratic norms in the US and the conditions that make it possible

Jonathan Beecher Field tracks the permutations of the town hall meeting from its original context as a form of democratic community governance in New England into a format for presidential debates and a staple of corporate governance. In its contemporary iteration, the town hall meeting models the aesthetic of the former but replaces actual democratic deliberation with a spectacle that involves no immediate electoral stakes or functions as a glorified press conference. Urgently, Field notes that though this evolution might be apparent, evidence suggests many US citizens don’t care to differentiate.

Forerunners: Ideas First
Short books of thought-in-process scholarship, where intense analysis, questioning, and speculation take the lead 

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