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American Difference; American Politics from a Comparative Perspective

by Lori M Poloni and Michael R Wolf CQ Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 248 pages
AU$85.00 NZ$89.57
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Examining democracies from a comparative perspective helps us better understand how the concept “who gets what, and how” differs among democracies. American Difference: American Politics from a Comparative Perspective takes the reader through different aspects of democrac - political culture, institutions, interest groups, political parties and elections - and unlike other works, explores how the US is both different from and similar to other democracies. Used in conjunction with a textbook for courses in Introduction to American Politics, Introduction to Comparative Politics or Introduction to Politics, this book will expand context and deepen students’ understanding of key concepts.




This book uniquely discusses and provides examples of similarities between the US and other democracies

American Exceptionalism is addressed and its commonly held definition of the US as superior is challenged, pointing out that exceptional only means different

Break out boxes, attractively displayed empirical examples providing easily accessible data, and end of chapter study questions and terms help students reinforce concepts and provide learning aids.

Chapter 1: Introduction What Does it Mean to Examine American Politics from a Comparative Perspective? Is American Democracy the Best Type of Democracy? Why is it Important to Examine American Politics from a Comparative Perspective? What to Expect in the Following Chapters How to Use This BookChapter 2:Similarities Between The United States And Other Democracies Introduction Definition of Democracy Procedural Democracy Public Contestation (Competition) and Inclusion (Participation) Freedoms Socio-Economic Development ConclusionChapter 3:American Exceptionalism Introduction Differing Views of Governing Legitimacy Functional Explanations for American Exceptionalism Social Democracy and Liberal Democracy ConclusionChapter 4:Political Beliefs Introduction Political Culture Civic Culture Political Engagement: Political Interest Interpersonal Trust, Reciprocity, and Social Capital Political Efficacy: Free Choice and Control Over Life Distinction of American Cultural Beliefs Individualism and Economy Ideology ConclusionChapter 5: Political Institutions Introduction Majoritarian and Consociational Democracies Governing Institutions Vertical Organization of Government: Unitary, Federal and Confederal Systems National Governing Institutions The Executive The Legislative Branch Judiciary Civil Law Legal Tradition Systems Common Law Legal Tradition Systems ConclusionChapter 6:Interest Groups Introduction Interest Groups, Social Movements, and Social Movement Organizations Interest Group Life-Cycle Pluralist versus (neo)Corporatist Interest Group Arrangements Why Pluralist or Neo-Corporatist? Role of Interest Groups in United States Historically and Today Types of Groups New Social Movements How Do Groups Participate in Politics? ConclusionChapter 7:Political Parties Introduction Party History and Formation Party Formation as a Result of Democratization American Party Development a Why Arenat Parties as Strong? The Nature of American Parties Where are the American Cleavages? Role of Parties in Government American Two-Party System Versus Other Party Systems An Americanization of Parties Elsewhere or More Party Government in US? ConclusionChapter 8:Elections, Electoral Institutions and Electoral Behavior Introduction Candidate Selection Electoral Institutions Plurality, Majority, and Proportional Representation Systems Consequences of Electoral Systems Context of Elections and Campaigns Voting Behavior: Electoral Participation Political Party Mobilization: Weak Party Organization in the U.S. Campaign Information Flow Clarity of Electoral Choice: Liberalism and Limited Government Evaluating the Consequences of the Electoral Context on Voter Participation Electoral Behavior:Determinants of Vote Choice Non-voting Behavior Consequences of Electoral Laws, Context, and Voting for Democracy ConclusionChapter 9: Conclusion

and ldquo;I think the main strength of this text is the attention paid to culture and the recurring theme of American exceptionalism.The authors stay focused on those themes and it shows throughout the book. This gives the text a clarity that other books may lack. and rdquo; Joseph Romance and ldquo;I believe that American students especially benefit from seeing their own system from a comparative perspective.They are often frustrated or disillusioned with shortcomings in American democracy and they are not used to thinking about other ways that democracy is practiced.Poloni-Staudinger and Wolf and rsquo;s book gives students a context for understanding weaknesses and strengths in American democracy and enables students to (often to their great surprise) appreciate their system in a new light.As educators and policy-makers look for ways to increase undergraduate interest in civic engagement and democracy-promotion, this book could be a valuable tool for helping students to see how democracy can work to provide the public good in various countries. and rdquo; Jacqueline Reich and ldquo;This book is a concise, no-nonsense account of the ways in which US politics differs from that of other advanced industrial countries. It offers a combination of brevity and comprehensiveness rarely found in introductory textbooks. and rdquo; Taylor Dark
Lori M. Poloni-Staudinger (PhD Indiana University 2005) is an Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University. She is also Statewide Coordinator for Arizona Deliberates, an organization focused on increasing public deliberation in Arizona, and a Kettering Foundation Fellow. Her research focuses on social movements, political contention and extra-institutional participation, and political institutions, mainly in Western Europe. Her recent work examines questions around women and terrorism. She was a Distinguished Fulbright Fellow at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, Austria and has served as a consultant for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. She also taught at University of the Basque Country in San Sebastian, Spain. Michael R. Wolf (PhD Indiana University 2002) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Indiana University a Purdue University Fort Wayne. His research focuses on comparative and American public opinion and political behavior. He has recently published on the nature and effects of political discussion in democracies and the dynamics of political compromise and political incivility. He is a research partner with the Kettering Foundation, a research fellow with the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics, and former Lugar Senior Fellow.