# Data. Together. Let's read about it
[About the Data Together Reading Group](https://github.com/datatogether/reading_datatogether)
A major lens through which governance of communities is understood is civics and citizenship. Even our own texts talk about "a civic layer for the web." But it's not clear that we really know what we mean by that! In order to think about communities, and more compellingly, what forms of space and collective action could be built around decentralized forms of governance, let's read about civics!
1. Iseult Honohan, Chapter V "Common goods and public virtue" in *[Civic Republicanism](https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781134616114/chapters/10.4324/9780203460894-10)*.
2. Paul Frazee [Information Civics](https://infocivics.com/). Available at: [https://infocivics.com/](https://infocivics.com/).
3. *Optional* Johnson, P., & Robinson, P. (2014). [Civic hackathons: Innovation, procurement, or civic engagement?](https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ropr.12074) Review of Policy Research, 31(4), 349-357. Available at: [https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ropr.12074](https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ropr.12074)
4. *Optional* **Rethinking the Civic and Citizenship**
These optional readings flesh out the problem of citizenship especially through an examination of the [*No one is Illegal*](http://nooneisillegal.org/) anti-racist and migrant movement. We often construct our sense of "civic" around a rights-based and liberal "citizenship regime". By examining places where that construct breaks down -- especially around immigration status -- we can maybe come to grips with the ways that "citizenship" can let us down, and maybe even the limitations of "civic" as a concept.
- Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on [Citizenship](https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/citizenship), esp. [citizens and non-citizens](https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/citizenship/#CitiNonCitiRigh) and [feminist critique](https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/citizenship/#FemiCrit)
- Nyers, P. (2010). [No one is illegal between city and nation](https://journals.library.brocku.ca/index.php/SSJ/article/view/998). Studies in social justice, 4(2), 127. Available at: [https://journals.library.brocku.ca/index.php/SSJ/article/view/998](https://journals.library.brocku.ca/index.php/SSJ/article/view/998) (open access)
- Guardian article ['No human being is illegal'](https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/06/illegal-immigrant-label-offensive-wrong-activists-say) (2015)
- Wikipedia article on [History of Citizenship](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_citizenship)
**Civic virtue** (and how it gets made): "an extensive responsibility to the larger political community", aligned with concepts of common good, public spirit, civility (p. 147ff).
- "The argument underlying the idea of civic virtue is that the **freedom of interdependent citizens ultimately depends on their active commitment to the collective goods they share**."
- highlights critiques about civic virtue (p. 148ff)
- subordinates individual to society, private to public
- "The requirement of civic virtue may be seen to be *anachronistic, oppressive, moralistic or unrealistic*"
- feminist critiques: originally militarist, masculinist, then gender-differentiated citizenship
- it is *too vague to give any understanding of its practical implications*
- it is too morally demanding, requiring conformity, unjust or unrealistic (p. 162ff)
- institutions and platforms -- how do they shape virtue?
**The common good** is teased apart into distinct senses in order to anticipate critiques that it is collectivist and potentially oppressive (p. 150ff)
- "*corporate good of a social group*", "unitary good of an organic of corporate whole directed to a single purpose": teleological (inspo: Aristotle, Rousseau)
- "*aggregate of individual goods*", sum of individual goods (inspo: Margaret Thatcher)
- "*ensemble of conditions for individual goods*" "the ensemble of conditions for individual fulfilment" (inspo: Locke, Rawls, Mouffe?)
- "*individualist--instrumental*" (republicanism) as "political participation and civic virtue are then the necessary precondition for realising diverse personal goods"
- "*Those who are vulnerable in common* to such dangers may be seen as living in **a common world**" (inspo: Arendt) or a *intersubjective–practical* sense of the common good in which people who are intrinsically social as well as significantly separate benefit as members of a group.
**Disparate view of public/private** flows from liberalism versus republicanism worldviews (p. 157ff)
- in *liberal thought* public and private are distinguished primarily on the **dimension of control**." e.g., public controlled by the state, private controlled (tightly coupled to agency)
- "For *republicans* the most salient dimension of the public is **interest or relevance**; what is quintessentially public is in the interest of all; what is private is in the interest of or relevant to one, a few or specified individuals, or sections of society. This does not map directly on to the state and the non-state." -- public and private as "different orientations" (more diffuse?)
**Possibility of a Republican Citizenship** may be much more limited in a contemporary state. Do technologies offer a possible solutin? cf. pol.is, gov0, etc.
**Limitations of a "civic"**, especially based on (rights-based, liberal) citizenship.
- examining places where those constructs breaks down--especially immigration status-- we can maybe come to grips with the limitations of "civic" as a concept and think from alternatives.
- Nyers' discussion of *No One is Illegal* frames citizenship as a type of *action* rather than *a state of being*. Citizenship for him comprises neither rights nor responsibilities, but a particular relationship or stance towards political action. It woud be intresting to consider the debt that this position owes to republicanism, which sees citizenship asrequiring more active stance to politics.
- (we could also maybe atalk about "speech acts" and the relationship to that way of thinking about political possibility).
- Frazee's case for decentralization movement "aim to somehow distribute political authority within a technical system." -- concepts of civics as reliant on "separation of powers", and absent in systems of authority
- Efficacy and effect of translating political concepts (politics) to technical expressions
- resisting the instrumentalism of both the policy ("civic") and technical ("digital") spaces: "civic hackathons are simultaneously *using open data as the platform* for new technology development while also *striving to deliver civic engagement outcomes*... Despite ongoing enthusiasm for the civic engagement possibilities of a hackathon, many questions are raised concerning the extent to which a one-time limited event (the civic hackathon) can truly enrich citizen–government relationships" (Johnson, p. 351ff)
*Copy this template into a [new notepad](//hackmd.io/new) to take notes for your reading group's discussion!*