Making Democracy Work

Civil Engagement Resources

LWV is a leading voice in the call for Civil Engagement

What is Civil Engagement?

A dialogue in which all participants have a right to speak and to be heard. Such dialogue is characterized by:

  • Respectful participation

  • Sharing the time equitably

  • Attentive listening

  • Balanced discussion

League's role in Civil Engagement

  • To study the current climate of civility(and incivility) and the League's historic role as one of the most trusted organizations in America.

  • To check our own practices.

  • To promote civility in an increasingly partisan world.

Putting Civility into Action - Participatory Democracy

We're in this together

The League of Women Voters' mission is to promote active, informed citizen participation at all levels of government through education and advocacy. Our focus is that our hands-on work will safeguard democracy leading to civic improvement.

- After the January 2011 Tucson shootings, we undertook a study of the roots and causes of incivility and gave presentations to community groups.

- In September 2012, we joined with Mira Costa College to present DEMOCRACY IN THE BALANCE? Getting Beyond the Shouting, a 2-day free community event that featured Patriocracy, a documentary film about the dysfunction in Washington. The standing-room only crowds convinced us that the public is interested in getting beyond the shouting.

Where we are going

After study and community presentations, we see our next steps engaged in promoting dialogues in our communities. We think the deliberative dialogue process, where diverse groups come together to discuss difficult, usually value-laden issues, will generate meaningful conversations and with it, greater civic engagement.

Resources for additional information on Civil Engagement


Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, Robert D. Putnam, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2000

Rude Democracy: Civility and Incivility in American Politics, Susan Herbst, Temple University Press, Philadelphia, PA, 2010

The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart, Bill Bishop, Mariner Books, New York, 2008

True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society, Farhad Manjoo, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ, 2008

un*Spun: finding facts in a world of [disinformation], Brooks Jackson and Kathleen Hall Jamieson (founders of, Random House, New York, 2007


Arizona Humanities Council -- LWV is part of an alliance of community groups on "Project Civil Discourse" -- A non-partisan, nonprofit website that describes itself as a 'consumer advocate' for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics.

Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy -- Kansas State University -

Institute for Civility in Government --

National Conflict Resolution Center-San Diego --

National Institute for Civil Discourse -- University of Arizona will offer venue for vigorous and respectful debate.

San Diego Deliberation Network -- Our local cohort moving the cause with grace and finesse -

Southern Poverty Law Center -- Teaching Tolerance curriculum -