New Directions in Congressional Politics: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

New Directions in Congressional Politics

1st Edition

Edited by Jamie L. Carson


320 pages

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pub: 2011-07-12
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As the U.S. Congress has steadily evolved, so too has our understanding of the institution. New Directions in Congressional Politics offers an accessible overview of the current developments in our understanding of America’s legislative branch. Jamie L. Carson helps students bridge the gap between roles, rules, and outcomes by focusing on four themes woven throughout: the importance of electoral considerations, legislators’ strategic behavior to accomplish objectives, the unique challenges of Congress as a bicameral institution, and the often-overlooked policy outputs of the institution.

This book brings together leading scholars of Congress to provide a general overview of the entire field. Each chapter covers the cutting edge developments on its respective topic. As the political institution responsible for enacting laws, the American public regularly looks to the U.S. Congress to address the important issues of the day. The contributors in this volume help explain why staying atop the research trends help us better understand these issues.


“This is a book that lives up to its title. Many edited collections merely involve summaries of other scholars' research, but this one offers original work and new perspectives on a wide range of topics, from historical analysis to the most contemporary congressional context. New Directions in Congressional Politics will be useful to undergraduate students and professional researchers alike.”

David W. Rohde, Duke University

New Directions in Congressional Politics is a fine new collection of essays, many by leading younger congressional scholars, that collectively provide a thorough and accessible account of what political scientists know about the House and Senate.”

Gary Jacobson, University of California San Diego

New Directions in Congressional Politics is an impressive volume, offering a superb lineup of congressional experts who have been central to building the corpus of scholarship on the U.S. Congress. By highlighting both past scholarship and potential future directions for research, New Directions will be a valuable and accessible resource for students and faculty for years to come.”

Sarah Binder, Brookings Institution and George Washington University

“This innovative volume reviews the current state of research on the United States Congress. Readers will find the essays an invaluable source of information for better understanding both chambers of Congress as well as examinations of the role of Congress in the American policymaking process.”

John David Rausch, Jr., West Texas A&M University

New Directions in Congressional Politics is an outstanding collection of original essays by leading scholars of congressional politics. This is a book all students of Congress and of American politics should read.”

Walter J. Stone, University of California Davis

“With its rich theoretical and empirical insight, New Directions in Congressional Politics is an enjoyable ‘must-read’ for students of Congress. This unusually comprehensive volume brings together experts who share their wisdom, systematic evidence, and some illuminating anecdotes to trace important developments in congressional scholarship and the changing dynamics in congressional politics. Readers will gain a deep appreciation for Congress’ electoral and historical foundations, institutional dynamics in and between the two chambers, policymaking, and the significance of the president, courts, and interest groups. I look forward to assigning it in class.”

Kathryn Pearson, University of Minnesota

“Carson has brought together an excellent collection of scholars who have nicely combined their own research with other new research in describing the modern Congress. This book could be used as either a good primary text or an excellent supplemental text for classes on the U.S. Congress.”

Sean Theriault, The University of Texas at Austin

"For a comprehensive study of what is known about Congress, and what should be explored more, readers need go no further than this excellent addition to understanding legislative politics in the US. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above."

J. Michael Bitzer, CHOICE (March 2012)

Table of Contents

Part I. Overview: New Directions in Congressional Politics Introduction Jamie Carson Part II. Historical and Electoral Foundations 1. Studying Congress Historically Jeffery Jenkins 2. Recruitment and Candidacy Cherie Maestas and Melissa Neal 3. Congressional Elections Erik Engstrom Part III. Congressional Institutions 4. Parties and Leaders C. Larry Evans 5. Congressional Committees in a Partisan Era Charles Stewart III 6. House Rules and Procedure Jason Roberts 7. Senate Rules and Procedure Anthony Madonna 8. Voting on the Floor Andrew Taylor 9. Bicameral Resolution Nathan Monroe Part IV: The Policymaking Process 10. Congress and the Executive Bryan Marshall 11. Congress and the Courts Sarah Treul 12. Congress and Interest Groups Anthony Nownes 13. Congressional Spending Michael Crespin and Charles Finocchiaro.

About the Editor

Jamie L. Carson is Associate Professor of political science at the University of Georgia, where his research is focused on congressional politics and elections, American political development, and separation of powers. He is the recipient of numerous teaching and research awards.

About the Series

New Directions in American Politics

The Routledge series New Directions in American Politics is composed of contributed volumes covering key areas of study in the field of American politics and government. Each title provides a state-of-the-art overview of current trends in its respective subfield, with an eye toward cutting edge research accessible to undergraduate students. While the volumes reflect all the main topics of relevant study, rather than cover the dry "nuts and bolts" of the subject they instead engage readers through intriguing puzzles and relevant questions that tie into your syllabus. The most recent scholarship, real-world controversies, and theoretical debates come alive in these volumes, getting students excited about the same issues that animate scholars.

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