Civic Studies Playlist

Nearly two dozen scholars and practitioners will be gathered in my office for the next two weeks for the annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies. Last year, I participated in this two week seminar which reflects on questions of what we – as people within communities – should do to make our communities better.

The two weeks cover a range of theorists and topics as participants grapple over important and challenging questions. It is a thought provoking and energizing experience.

But not everybody can give two weeks of their time to a thousand pages of reading and hours of discussion. So, for those of you playing at home, here’s a suggested playlist for civic studies:

We Will All Go Together When We Go by Tom Lehrer
Elinor Ostrom – What seems to be in your immediate best interest may lead to collective doom.

Tom’s Diner by Suzanne Vega
J├╝rgen Habermas – Lifeworld. System. Public Sphere. They all intersect.

Superman’s Song by Crash Test Dummies
John Dewey – Making the world better is tough work, but it can be done.

Killing in the Name Of by Rage Against The Machine
Walter Lippmann – People in power can convince you to do terrible things without you even realizing you’re being manipulated.

Small Town by John Cougar Mellencamp
Robert Putnam – Life is great when you know all your neighbors.

We Built this City (On Rock and Roll) by Starship
Harry Boyte – Those in power can’t write us off, we built this city.

(Lord It’s Hard To Be Happy When You’re Not) Using the Metric System by Atom & His Package
Bent Flyvbjerg – Those in power shape reality by deciding how things should be measured.

The Power of Love by Huey Lewis & the News
Mahatma Gandhi – Love has real power, tougher than diamonds and stronger than steel.

Boys On The Docks by the Dropkick Murphys
Saul Alinsky
– Though it starts with your fist it must end with your mind.

A Change Would Do You Good by Sheryl Crow or
We’re Not Going to Take It by Twisted Sister
Roberto Mangabeira Unger – Smash context, experiment radically

The Ballad of NATO by the Tossers
James Madison – A political diatribe gets your point across.

Handlebars by the Flobots
Edmund Burke – An individual with power is dangerous. An individual who believes he’s earned that power is even more dangerous.

Zombie by the Cranberries
Peter Singer – It may be easy to be silent in the face of human suffering, but it is morally wrong to do so.

Closer to Free by the BoDeans
Martha C. Nussbaum – Everybody wants to be closer to free.


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