The Laurence and Lynne Brown Democracy Medal recognizes outstanding individuals, groups, and organizations that produce exceptional innovations to further democracy in the United States or around the world.
The 2015 winner of the Brown Democracy Medal, Joan C. Tronto, argues in Who Cares? that we need to rethink American democracy, as well as our own fundamental values and commitments, from a caring perspective. Asserting that Americans are facing a "caring deficit"—that there are simply too many demands on our time to care adequately for children, elderly people, and ourselves—she asks us to reconsider how we allocate care responsibilities. At the same time, while democratic politics should help citizens to care better, most people see caring as unsupported by public life and deem the concerns of politics as too remote from their lives to make a difference in this sphere. Tronto traces the reasons for this disconnect and argues for the need to make care, not economics, the central concern of democratic political life.
Introduction1. When We Understand Care, We'll Need to Redefine Democracy2. Care, Inc.3. Making the Caring-With Revolution HappenNotes
"The Institute chose to celebrate Joan C. Tronto's work because it forces people to rethink the obligations we have to one another in democratic societies. Modern rhetoric about democracy places due emphasis on personal freedom, but responsibilities can get overlooked. Tronto also stresses that caring for one another is less a burden than a fulfilling act, which reminds us all of how dependent we are on one another across the country and across the generations."
John Gastil, Director, McCourtney Institute for Democracy