From Do-It-Yourself Democracy: The Rise of the Public Engagement Industry by Caroline Lee pg 6. I thought this was a really interesting account of how the contemporary valorisation of debate goes hand-in-hand with a widespread sense of civic decline, with often negative results:
Pure civic settings are in high demand in an increasingly apolitical and consumption-oriented age. These authentic political experiences, far from being alternative spaces, could not exist without the institutional contexts they claim to supersede. In this way, to understand what is sacred about political participation, we must understand how its specialness is carefully crafted, why that perceived specialness is so valuable to sponsors, and why it is so threatening to activists seeking collective, not individual, transformations. Participants’ experiences with a different kind of engagement reinforce their suspicions of ordinary politics and ineffectual bureaucracies.