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Democracy Works: Is It Possible to Overdo Democracy?

Robert Talisse
Vanderbilt University

As we enter the holiday season, Robert Talisse thinks it's a good idea to take a break from politics. In fact, he might go so far as to say democracy is better off if you do.

Talisse is the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University and author of a new book called "Overdoing Democracy: Why We Must Put Politics in Its Place." The book combines philosophical analysis with real-world examples to examine the infiltration of politics into all social spaces, and the phenomenon of political polarization.

In the middle of an impeachment inquiry and with a presidential election looming on the horizon, this might seem like precisely the wrong time to try to balance your political engagement with other things. But Talisse argues developing that sense of "civic friendship" through a sports league, book club, cooking class, or just about any other type of activity that's not political, can help you see past the partisan identity that's so prevalent these days.

We also discuss deliberative democracy and efforts to bring people from across the political spectrum together to find that sense of common ground.    

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.