Organizing for Popular Rule: State and Local Governments and the Future of the Democratic Experiment|
Fall 2010 not offered
|Course Cluster: Urban Studies|
No matter where you live, you are subject to some form of public authority. In the United States, this includes a complex system of state and local governments-states, county, municipality, township, school district, and a host of others, including some with exotic and unfamiliar names such as gores and surpluses. Although at times overshadowed by the national government, state and local governments remain crucial actors in the nation's system of governance, raising and spending billions of dollars annually and being responsible for such key functions as education, law enforcement, public health, and zoning. This course is about these governments-what they are, how they are organized, what they do and how well they do it, and their place in a federal system that some insist is no longer truly federal. It is also a course about democracy and the ways state and local governments have given concrete expression to the ambitious but often ambiguous promises of this political philosophy. Democratic theory is not a comprehensive, detailed blueprint for action. It requires choices, and in the United States, these choices have been influenced by a persistent concern about the political competence of ordinary citizens. This concern has been reflected over the years in the efforts by institutional engineers to distance policy making from politics and to replace parties and elections with professionalism. The result has been a wonderfully complex and often baffling system of state and local government that while at times seemingly nonsensical, in fact, makes a great deal of sense.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (GOVT)(GOVT-American)
The major readings will be Grumm and Murphy, GOVERNING STATES AND COMMUNITIES: ORGANIZING FOR POPULAR RULE. This book will be supplemented by readings from primary sources, including state constitutions and city charters, as well as secondary sources on political parties and electoral systems, chief executives, legislatures and courts, the policy process and policy assessment.
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Standard letter grades, based on: mid-term and a final; a research project and class participation.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
GOVT151 is strongly recommended, but not required, as are courses in American History and Economics.
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