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Democracy Works: Reimagining Citizenship In A Consumer World

Ethan Porter
George Washington University

If you're listening to this podcast, you probably don't fit Ethan Porter's definition of a consumer citizen, but you probably know someone who does — someone who tunes out of politics and would rather focus on just about anything else. Porter argues that appealing to consumer behavior might be on way to spark civic engagement among this group. 

In The Consumer Citizen, Porter also makes the case that Americans would trust the government more if it did a better job of communicating about its services. He has some ideas about how businesses can join the effort to increase civics education for everyone, not just students in school. We cover all of those topics in this conversation, and Michael and Chris offer their reflections — and a healthy dose of skepticism — after the interview.

Porter is an assistant professor at the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago in 2016. He is the author of The Consumer Citizen and the forthcoming False Alarm: The Truth About Political Mistruths in the Trump Era.

Jenna Spinelle is the Communications Specialist for the McCourtney Institute for Democracy at Penn State. She is responsible for shaping all of the institute's external communication, including website content, social media, multimedia, and media outreach.