Benjamin R. Barber

Benjamin R. Barber, a political theorist with a focus on civic participation and civic education who advances the role of robust democratic citizenship, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, where he is president and director of the international NGO CivWorld. He is Walt Whitman Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Rutgers University, where he taught from 1970 to 2001 and founded as well as directed the Whitman Center for the Culture and Politics of Democracy. He has held the chair of American Civilization at the École des Hautes Études in Paris. In 2001 he joined the faculty of the University of Maryland as a principal of The Democracy Collaborative.

Prior to completing his undergraduate degree from Grinnell College, Barber studied at the Albert Schweitzer College in Switzerland and the London School of Economics and Political Science. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Barber’s 17 books include Strong Democracy (1984, reissued in a new edition in 2004), Jihad vs. McWorld (1995, with a post-9/11 edition in 2001), and Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole (2007). Writing frequently for many scholarly and popular publications in America and Europe, he was founding editor and for ten years editor-in-chief of the international quarterly Political Theory. All of his writings, from academic studies to more popular articles in newspapers and magazines of opinion, have stressed the need to think practically about ways to foster a more democratic political life in America and abroad.

Consulting regularly with political and civic leaders around the world, Barber brings his strong concern for democracy and citizenship to issues of politics, culture, and education.

His honors include a knighthood (Palmes Academiques/Chevalier) from the French Government (2001), the Berlin Prize of the American Academy of Berlin (2001), and the John Dewey Award (2003).

One public contribution