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Local Elections and the Politics of Small-Scale Democracy$
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J. Eric Oliver, Shang E. Ha, and Zachary Callen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691143552

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691143552.001.0001

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Rethinking Local Democracy

Rethinking Local Democracy

Chapter:
(p.183) Chapter 6 Rethinking Local Democracy
Source:
Local Elections and the Politics of Small-Scale Democracy
Author(s):

J. Eric Oliver

Shang E. Ha

Zachary Callen

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691143552.003.0007

This chapter considers the managerial character of local democracy. It asks: Does managerial democracy inhibit or enhance the capacity of most Americans for meaningful self-governance? Who governs in a managerial democracy? In most places, local democracy is less about coalitions of property speculators and machine politicians establishing local fiefdoms or about marginalized groups, such as minorities or the poor, empowering themselves through civic activism. Rather, it is more about large portions of the electorate attaining relatively easy consensus over the general management of a limited number of government services and a greater stratification of different groups across municipal boundaries. Local democracy in suburban America is less about intramunicipal political struggle than it is about intermunicipal political exclusion. This situation creates a much more complicated picture of “who governs” America than what most existing research suggests.

Keywords:   local politics, managerial democracy, local democracy, municipal government, intermunicipal political exclusion

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