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What are the environments, the public spaces, in which ordinary people become participants in the complex, ambiguous, engaging conversation about democracy: participators in governance rather than spectators or complainers, victims or accomplices? What are the roots, not simply of movements against oppression, but also of those democratic social movements which both enlarge the opportunities for participation and enhance people's ability to participate in the public world?
In Free Spaces, Sara M. Evans and Harry C. Boyte argue for a new understanding of the foundations for democratic politics by analyzing the settings in which people learn to participate in democracy. In their new Introduction, the authors link the concept of free spaces to recent theoretical discussions about community, public life, civil society, and social movements.