UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Albert Dzur, professor of political science and philosophy at Bowling Green State University, is the winner of the 2017 Laurence and Lynne Brown Democracy Medal from the McCourtney Institute for Democracy.
The McCourtney Institute, based in the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts, promotes rigorous scholarship and practical innovations to advance the democratic process in the United States and abroad. The institute awards the Brown Democracy Medal annually to honor the best work being done to advance democracy in the United States and internationally.
“Albert Dzur’s work represents an important new frontier in democratic theory,” noted Michael Berkman, professor of political science and director of the McCourtney Institute, when announcing the 2017 Brown Democracy Medal recipient. “When partisan rancor is at an all-time high and confidence in democratic processes is at an all-time low, Dzur shows that democracy is still an effective and empowering way for citizens to address their common problems.”
Dzur argues that some of the most innovative and important work in democracy is taking place face-to-face and is being led by professionals who bring those involved into the decision-making process. These “democratic professionals” create a culture that leads to better decisions and overcomes what he calls “civic lethargy.” His most recent work focuses on the how this democratic professionalism manifests itself in the operation of our criminal justice system — from juries to prisons.
Dzur is also a research fellow at the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research at the University of Edinburgh and an associate at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at Canberra University (Australia). He is the author of “Democratic Professionalism: Citizen Participation and the Reconstruction of Professional Ethics, Identity, and Practice” (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2008); “Punishment, Participatory Democracy, and the Jury” (Oxford University Press, 2012); and co-editor of “Democratic Theory and Mass Incarceration” (Oxford University Press, 2016). He serves on the editorial boards of Howard Journal of Crime and Justice and Restorative Justice: an International Journal. He also writes regularly for the Boston Review.
Dzur will receive his medal and present the Brown Lecture at a ceremony scheduled to take place on the Penn State University Park campus on Friday, Oct. 20. The lecture will subsequently be published by Cornell University Press.