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Constituent Perceptions of Political Representation: How Citizens Evaluate Their Representativesby Robin M. Lauermann
Synopses & Reviews
This book examines the nature of representation in democracy, focusing on constituent evaluations of Congress members and the implications these results have on citizens' influence on government. This analysis elaborates on the complex relationship citizens have with their representatives, shedding light on the constituent perspective in two ways. First, the model unpacks the rarely-examined evaluation process, a lynchpin in the representational relationships between member behavior and elections. Second, it engages a broader perspective of representative responsiveness which includes the intangible aspect of symbolic responsiveness, an under-studied component of research within comprehensive assessments of representation. Constituent Perceptions of Political Representation shows that symbolic responsiveness is often the most influential factor affecting constituent evaluations while also posing significant questions about the basis of our democracy: if we are dissatisfied with the caliber of our government, do we acknowledge our role as citizens in setting poor or vague standards? Why are we dismayed when representatives give us what we ask for? Robin M. Lauermann addresses these questions in a comprehensive and readable work that will appeal to students and scholars interested in the unique, ever-important relationship between public opinion and Congressional outcomes.
About the Author
Robin M. Lauermann is Professor of Politics and International Relations, and Assistant Dean of General Education and Common Learning at Messiah College, USA. Her current research focuses on representation, empowerment and political engagement. She is treasurer of the NYSPSA and member of the PPSA and APSA. Dr. Lauermann serves on the Pennsylvania Policy Forum, which focuses on developing skills and knowledge of leaders and citizens in the Commonwealth.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Why a Constituent Perspective?
1.The Nature of Representation
2.The Constituent Perspective: Foundations and Formation
3.Muddy Waters and Perception of Representative Issue Positions: Constituent Ignorance, Delusion, or Rationality
4.The Appropriate Response? Components of Constituent Evaluations
5.Who Prefers What: The Impact of Identity on Evaluations
6.Conclusion: Constituent Evaluations: Linking Member Behavior and Electoral Accountability
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