chapter  3
Democracy, Community, and Problem Solving
ByJohn Braithwaite
Pages 9

In a historical period when representative democracy is sweeping away one dictatorship after another, democracy is becoming more shallow in its meaning for human lives. The lesson that democracy requires active responsibility is being learned in the banal and personal cases just as it is in the less common cases that grapple with structural change. The outputs people hope for are not only solving the problem but also building community and building democracy, or at least the competence to be democratic. Democratic participation requires democratic competence that must be learned through the exercise of active responsibility. The extra step to democratic citizenship is taken when the citizen moves from participating in restorative conferences to being active in some way in the social movement for restorative justice practices. Restorative processes can be one crucial vehicle of empowerment where spaces are created for active responsibility in civil society to displace predominantly passive, statist responsibility.