By Brian Adams
"Citizen Lobbyists" explores how U.S. voters perform neighborhood govt. even if many commentators have lamented the apathy of the yankee citizenry, Brian Adams specializes in what makes usual american citizens get involved in and try and impact public coverage matters that trouble them. It connects conception and empirical information in a brand new and revealing approach, delivering either a radical assessment of the appropriate scholarly discussions and a close case examine of citizen engagement within the politics of Santa Ana, a mid-sized Southern California urban. After interviewing greater than 50 citizens, Adams came across that they are often most sensible defined as "lobbyists" who determine problems with own significance after which foyer their neighborhood govt our bodies. via his examine, he chanced on that public conferences and social networks emerged as crucial parts in electorate' efforts to steer neighborhood coverage. by means of trying out conception opposed to truth, this paintings fills a void in our realizing of the particular participatory practices of "civically engaged" voters.
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Extra resources for Citizen Lobbyists: Local Efforts to Influence Public Policy
Informal Participation All of the ways to participate described above are formal mechanisms created by government to allow for citizen input into the policy process. Participation, however, is not limited to these formal means, as citizens have other opportunities to influence policy. One such way is by directly contacting government officials. Since Verba and Nie’s (1972) initial conclusion that contacting is not explained well by the standard SES model, the literature has centered on identifying the variables that predict contacting activity.
The research discussed below does not directly address this question; however, we can draw on ideas and insights it presents to explore what types of patterns we might see in our study of Santa Ana. In a classic article on the dynamics of local politics, Charles Tiebout (1956) argues that citizens choose their home locality based on the relationship between the bundle of goods and services that the locality provides and the bundle of goods and services they personally desire. In this model, citizens are consumers, shopping around to find the locality that best matches their personal preferences.
Because the literature is so disjointed, drawing conclusions about the nature of citizen participatory activity is difficult. We do not know why citizens choose to engage in one activity rather than another, and only have sporadic descriptions of how citizens use the participatory options available to them to accomplish their political goals. Both of these issues are addressed in Part III. Is Citizen Participation Effective? When citizens try to influence local policy, are they successful? The most extensive and coherent line of inquiry into this question has been the effort to identify the relative power of elites and citizens in the “urban power” literature.
Citizen Lobbyists: Local Efforts to Influence Public Policy by Brian Adams