Doing Democracy, 10 Practical Arts is a 50 page handbook offered as a companion to Frances Moore Lappé's 2006 book Democracy’s Edge: Choosing to Save Our Country by Bringing Democracy to Life. "It is designed for educators, group leaders, and any citizen who wants to become more powerful. We humans may be born innately social creatures; but to be effective in creating societies we want, it helps to approach democracy-making as a learned art. As with any art – from ballet to basketball – breaking the process down into its core elements can facilitate learning."
"We’ve chosen ten arts of democracy – a nice round number – not with any pretense of creating an exhaustive guide. Rather, these practices are a starting point. They contribute to enhanced decision-making, mutual regard, group learning and staying power. We’re convinced that the better we become in practicing such arts, the more satisfying our public lives become. Our improved public practice moreover, also enhances our private lives as well."
The ten arts of democracy explored in this handbook are
- Active Listening – encouraging the speaker and searching for meaning
- Creative Conflict – confronting others in ways that produce growth
- Mediation – facilitating interaction to help people in conflict hear each other
- Negotiation – problem solving that meets some key interests of all involved
- Political Imagination – reimaging our futures according to our values
- Public Dialogue – public talk on matters that concern us all
- Public Judgment – public decision making that allows citizens to make choices they are willing to help implement
- Celebration and Appreciation – expressing joy and appreciation for what we learn as well as what we achieve
- Evaluation and Reflection – assessing and incorporating the lessons we learn through action
- Mentoring – supportively guiding others in learning these arts of public life