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John Dewey between Participatory Democracy and Direct Action

A Commentary on Jeff Jackson

William R. Caspary

Keywords: democracy; direct action; inequality; John Dewey; New Left; participation


This critical commentary engages Jeff Jackson’s reading of John Dewey’s approach to participatory democracy and direct action—both are fundamental issues in democratic theory today. I probe Dewey’s texts for what I reason to be a more precise reading of his views on social movement action. I go beyond Jackson’s assertion of a role for direct action, to theorize it as an intrinsic element of participatory democracy.

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