Policy Making and Southern Distinctiveness  book cover
1st Edition

Policy Making and Southern Distinctiveness

ISBN 9780367677336
Published October 5, 2021 by Routledge
122 Pages

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Book Description

Policy Making and Southern Distinctiveness examines the uniqueness of southern politics and their policy choices.

While decades of scholarship on the politics of the American South have focused on partisanship and electoral outcomes as the primary elements of interest in southern politics, few works have focused on the more practical outcomes of these political processes, specifically, comparing state policy choices of southern states to non-southern states. This book examines six different policy arenas: voting access, gun control, health care, reproductive rights, water, and COVID-19 pandemic response, comparing policy choices in states in the South with states in the non-South. The authors find that the South is distinct in several, but not all, of the policy arenas examined. They conclude that the South as a region is unique because of the exceptional degree of one-party control evident in the South, coupled with a long-standing preoccupation with partisanship and race-based politics.

Policy Making and Southern Distinctiveness provides valuable insights into how and why states behave in the manner they do and where southern states may diverge from the rest of the country. It will be of interest to scholars of southern politics, state comparative policy, public policy, American politics, and federalism/intergovernmental relations.

Table of Contents

1. Why Study Southern Policy Making?

2. Where is the South?

3. Model and Methods

4. Implementation of the Affordable Care Act

5. Reproductive Rights for Women

6. State Commitment to Clean Water

7. State Firearm Legislation

8. Fatal Police Violence

9. COVID-19 Pandemic Response

10. Is Southern Policy Making Distinct?

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John C. Morris is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Auburn University. He previously served as a faculty member at Mississippi State University and Old Dominion University. He has studied southern politics and policy for more than 25years and has published widely in the fields of political science, public administration, and public policy. He is the coeditor of Speaking Green with a Southern Accent: Environmental Management and Innovation in the South (2010), and True Green: Executive Effectiveness in the US Environmental Protection Agency (2012). He is coeditor of Building the Local Economy: Cases in Economic Development (2008); coeditor of a three-volume series Prison Privatization: The Many Facets of a Controversial Industry (2012); and Advancing Collaboration Theory: Models, Typologies, and Evidence (Routledge, 2016). His most recent books include The Case for Grassroots Collaboration: Social Capital and Ecosystem Restoration at the Local Level (2013, with others); State Politics and the Affordable Care Act: Choices and Decisions (Routledge, 2019, with others); Organizational Motivation for Collaboration: Theory and Evidence (2019, with Luisa Diaz-Kope); Multiorganizational Arrangements for Watershed Protection: Working Better Together (Routledge, 2021, with Madeleine W. McNamara); and Clean Water Policy and State Choice: Promise and Performance in the Water Quality Act (forthcoming 2022). In addition, he has published more than 110 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and reports.

Martin K. Mayer is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP) in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. In this position he teaches a variety of courses, primarily in the graduate school, in public management and health policy, and he leads the health administration concentration. He holds a PhD in public administration from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and additional degrees from the University of Akron. His previous work is centered primarily on decision-making and resource scarcity in the domains of health policy, local government, and transportation finance. He is the coauthor (with John C. Morris, Robert C. Kenter, and Luisa M. Lucero) of State Politics and the Affordable Care Act: Choices and Decisions (2019). His journal publications appear in Social Science Quarterly, Politics & Policy, The Social Science Journal, Public Works Management and Policy, State and Local Government Review and Politics and the Life Sciences, among others. He has contributed to several other book projects, reports, and committees on a variety of topics from sea-level rise to southern politics, public health, and environment policy.

Robert C. Kenter is the Director of Law Enforcement Field Engagement at the Center for Policing Equity, a non-profit action and research think tank. Prior to joining the Center for Policing Equity he served over 30 years with the Norfolk Police Department before retiring in April 2020. He holds a PhD in public administration from the School of Public Service at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia. His research focuses on procedural justice, southern politics, and healthcare reform. His work has appeared in Social Science Quarterly, Policing: An International Journal, and Politics and Policy. He is also coauthor of State Politics and the Affordable Care Act: Choices and Decisions (Routledge, 2019).

R. Bruce Anderson is the Dr. Sarah D. and L. Kirk McKay, Jr. Endowed Chair in American History, Government, and Civics and Miller Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida, where he teaches the American core curriculum and is director of the Pre-Law program, and has developed multiple programs in civic education for both higher education and K-12 curriculum, including developing, authoring and editing the text "Exploring the Constitution," a nonpartisan/nonideological classroom text on constitutional mechanics. He holds a PhD in political science from Rice University. He is also a columnist for the Lakeland Ledger/USA Today Network and Political Consultant and on-air commentator for WLKF Radio of Hall Communications. He is a contributor, for the last three editions, to The New Politics of the Old South (edited by Charles Bullock III and Mark J. Rozell) and has published essays on many disparate subjects, including state legislative politics, the political life of Strom Thurmond and the Dixiecrats; the concept of justice in Immanuel Kant (with Sarah Massey); and KGB/GRU and CIA surveillance tradecraft and techniques. His work has also appeared in The American Review of Politics, The American Politics Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, as well as more "mainstream" print media outlets.


"With crisp, engaging prose, Morris, Mayer, Kenter, and Anderson explore the ways in which policymaking in the southern states remains distinct and the ways in which it has converged with the rest of the nation. This volume is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand policymaking in our federal system or the enduring legacy of the American South."

Christopher Cooper, Madison Distinguished Professor, Western Carolina University

"Over the past seven decades, scholars of Southern politics have tended to focus their intellectual curiosity and studies on elections in the South. Since that time, Morris, Mayer, Kenter, and Anderson have taken an innovative new approach in which they seek to answer the question of whether policy differences exist between Southern and non-Southern states. This work takes the study of Souther politics away solely from elections and helps to shed light on the regional impacts in the formation of public policy."

Scott E. Buchanan, Professor of Political Science, Georgia College & State University

"John Morris and colleagues have provided an excellent addition to the literature on southern politics, especially in the underdeveloped area of policy making in the South. The book offers an insightful analysis of southern distinctiveness along with how we define the South. The authors provide a compelling model of state policy making by utilizing a common set of explanatory factors (political variables, socioeconomic conditions, and state need) to explore policy development in six very timely and highly relevant policy arenas ranging from the Affordable Care Act to reproductive rights of women to state firearm legislation to fatal police violence to the pandemic response. Policy Making and Southern Distinctiveness is an excellent addition to not only classes on southern politics but also courses on federalism as well as policy development and policy analysis."

James T. LaPlant, Professor of Political Science, Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Valdosta State University

"A great deal of ink has been spilt analyzing Southern distinctiveness. We know that the South is different ideologically, racially, culturally, and more monolithic in its voting preferences than the rest of nation. The authors seek to discover if the uniqueness of the South has real policy implications. Their research confirms that despite the ongoing homogenization of the United States, the South retains a unique approach in addressing many pressing public issues. Policy Making and Southern Distinctiveness is a timely and valuable contribution to the study of Southern politics and the role of region in state level policymaking."

DuBose Kapeluck, Co-Director, The Citadel Symposium on Southern Politics

"In Policy Making and Southern Distinctiveness, Morris, Mayer, Kenter, and Anderson provide a sorely needed examination of whether the contemporary American South remains differentiable in the laws it passes. Through detailed analyses of several of the most salient issues in American Politics (e.g., regulation of firearms, abortion, and the Affordable Care Act) from 2012 to 2018, the southern states take actions that reflect the persistence of its more conservative political culture. This is a must-read for scholars interested in the connection between politics and policy making."

Seth C. McKee, Oklahoma State University