Who Governs?: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Who Governs?

1st Edition

By Astrid Noren Nilsson, Jason Xidias

Macat Library

83 pages

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Paperback: 9781912128006
pub: 2017-07-04
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Description

American political theorist Robert Dahl’s 1961 work of political theory exhibits deep levels of creative thinking. When Dahl wrote, the American system of liberal democracy was generally considered to be shaped by a small group of powerful individuals who dominate because they are wealthy and influential. But by connecting the evidence in a new way in Who Governs? Dahl argued convincingly against this view.

Dahl suggested that power is actually distributed among a number of competing groups, and that each of those groups seeks to influence decisions. He puts forward a definition of political power as the ability to make others do what you want them to, concluding that – while most people do not actively participate in politics and so do not exert a direct influence – power is still fragmented, and citizens do indirectly shape decision-making.

Dahl’s novel explanation of the existing evidence emerged from a study of three areas of policy-making in the city of New Haven: political nominations, urban redevelopment, and public education. His research revealed that different people wielded power in each area, and that only the mayor, whose power is checked by those who vote for him, was powerful in all three. These new connections allowed Dahl to arrive at fresh conclusions and convincingly demonstrated that the US operates a pluralist system in which power is divided between different interest groups.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the text Who was Robert Dahl? What does Who Governs? say? Why does Who Governs? matter? Section 1: Influences Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context Module 2: Academic Context Module 3: The Problem Module 4: The Author's Contribution Section 2: Ideas Module 5: Main Ideas Module 6: Secondary Ideas Module 7: Achievement Module 8: Place in the Author's Work Section 3: Impact Module 9: The First Responses Module 10: The Evolving Debate Module 11: Impact and Influence Today Module 12: Where Next? Glossary of Terms People Mentioned in the Text Works Cited

About the Authors

Dr Astrid Noren Nilsson holds a doctorate in politics and international studies from the University of Cambridge. She currently teaches at the University of Lund in Sweden, and is the author of the monograph Cambodia’s Second Kingdom: Nation, Imagination, and Democracy (Cornell SEAP, 2016). Her research interests include democratic change, nationalism, the politics of memory, and emerging notions of citizenship and social change in South-East Asia.

About the Series

The Macat Library

Great Works for Critical Thinking

Making the ideas of the world’s great thinkers accessible, affordable, and comprehensible to everybody, everywhere. 

With a growing list of over 180 titles across a broad range of subject areas, Macat works with leading academics from the world’s top universities to produce new analyses that focus on the ideas and the impact of the most influential works ever written. By setting them in context – and looking at the influences that shaped their authors, as well as the responses they provoked – Macat encourages readers to look at these classics and game-changers with fresh eyes.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POL000000
POLITICAL SCIENCE / General