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Who Governs?: Democracy and Power in an American City, Second Edition (Yale Studies in Political Science)by Robert Alan Dahl
Synopses & Reviews
In this now-classic work, one of the most celebrated political scientists of the twentieth century offers a powerful interpretation of the location of political power in American urban communities. For this new edition, Robert A. Dahl has written a new Preface in which he reflects on Who Governs? more than four decades after its publication. And in a new Foreword, Douglas W. Rae offers an assessment of Dahl’s achievement in this, Dahl’s greatest and most influential book.
“Dahl is never dogmatic, and never imagines that the world stands still to accommodate either the democratic ideal or his own pluralistic theory of city politics. . . .Who Governs? is Dahl’s liveliest and most remarkable book.”—Douglas W. Rae, from the Foreword
From reviews of the first edition:
“A book that no one interested in politics can afford to ignore.”—Lewis A. Coser, Commentary
“Anyone seriously concerned with current systematic political theory or with urban politics should read Who Governs?”—Hugh Douglas Price, Political Science Quarterly
“A sophisticated and undogmatic treatise on democratic politics.”—Heinz Eulau, American Political Science Review
“Dahl has illuminated a central question in political science, the problem of how men can govern themselves in complex societies. . . . Who Governs? will become a classic.”—from the citation of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award
Americaand#8217;s model of representational government rests on the premise that elected officials respond to the opinions of citizens. This is a myth, however, not a reality, according to James N. Druckman and Lawrence R. Jacobs. In Who Governs?, Druckman and Jacobs combine existing research with novel data from US presidential archives to show that presidents make policy by largely ignoring the views of most citizens in favor of affluent and well-connected political insiders. Presidents treat the public as pliable, priming it to focus on personality traits and often ignoring it on policies that fail to become salient.
Melding big debates about democratic theory with existing research on American politics and innovative use of the archives of three modern presidentsand#151;Johnson, Nixon, and Reaganand#151;Druckman and Jacobs deploy lively and insightful analysis to show that the conventional model of representative democracy bears little resemblance to the actual practice of American politics. The authors conclude by arguing that polyarchy and the promotion of accelerated citizen mobilization and elite competition can improve democratic responsiveness. An incisive study of American politics and the flaws of representative government, this book will be warmly welcomed by readers interested in US politics, public opinion, democratic theory, and the fecklessness of American leadership and decision-making.
"In this now-classic work, one of the most celebrated political scientists of the twentieth century offers a powerful interpretation of the location of political power in American urban communities. For this new edition, Robert A. Dahl has written a new Preface in which he reflects on" Who Governs? more than four decades after its publication. And in a new Foreword, Douglas W. Rae offers an assessment of Dahl's achievement in this, Dahl's greatest and most influential book.
About the Author
Robert A. Dahl is Sterling Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Yale University and past president of the American Political Science Association. He is the author of numerous books, including Polyarchy and Democracy and Its Critics, available in paperback from Yale University Press.
Table of Contents
Part I. Political Representation and Presidential Manipulation
Chapter 1. Presidential Crafted Talk and Democratic Theory
Chapter 2. The Political Strategy of Tracking the Public
Part II. Presidential Strategies to Shape Public Opinion
Chapter 3. How White House Strategy Drives the Collection and Use of Its Polling
Chapter 4. Segmented Representation
Chapter 5. Elite Strategies to Prime Issues and Image
Part III. Americaand#8217;s Democratic Dilemmas
Chapter 6. The Effects and Limits of Presidential Efforts to Move Public Opinion
Chapter 7. Rethinking Representation
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