Ethnocentrism - our tendency to partition the human world into in-groups and out-groups - pervades societies around the world. Surprisingly, though, few scholars have explored its role in political life. Donald R. Kinder and Cindy D. Kam fill this gap with "Us Against Them", their definitive explanation of how ethnocentrism shapes American public opinion. Arguing that humans are broadly predisposed to ethnocentrism, Kinder and Kam explore its impact on our attitudes toward an array of issues, including the war on terror, humanitarian assistance, immigration, the sanctity of marriage, and the reform of social programs. The authors ground their study in previous theories from a wide range of disciplines, establishing a new framework for understanding what ethnocentrism is and how it becomes politically consequential. They also marshal a vast trove of survey evidence to identify the conditions under which ethnocentrism shapes public opinion. While ethnocentrism is widespread in the United States, the authors demonstrate that its political relevance depends on circumstance.Exploring the implications of these findings for political knowledge, cosmopolitanism, and societies outside the United States, Kinder and Kam add a new dimension to our understanding of how democracy functions.
Us Against Them: Ethnocentric Foundations of American Opinion – Chicago Studies in American Politics (Paperback)
British Politics since 1945 offers a comprehensive overview of postwar British politics ideal for introductory students and general readers alike. The book balances a narrative of the major events and personalities of the postwar political scene with a critical assessment of the recurrent issues and concerns of political debate. It also analyses the main idealogical perspectives operating within party politics since the Second Wolrd War - from the Right, the Centre and the Left - showing how these dominant groups have viewed developments and expressed their ambitions over the last fifty years.* Succinct chronological account complemented with critical, thematic assessment of ideas * Covers central topic on all introductory politics and postwar history * Extensive use of tabular material, and appendices for reference
On the last, cold Sunday of February 1859, Daniel Sickles shot his wife's lover in Washington's Lafayette Square, just across from the White House. This is the story of that killing and its repercussions. Charming and ambitious, Dan Sickles literally got away with murder. His protector was none other than the President himself, James Buchanan; his political friends quickly gathered around; and, Sickles was acquitted. His trial is described with all Thomas Keneally's powers of dash and drama, against a backdrop of double-dealing, intrigue and slavery. Enslaved, in her turn, by the hypocrisy of nineteenth-century society, his wife was shunned and thereafter banned from public life. Sickles, meanwhile, was free to accept favours and patronage. He raised a regiment for the Union, and went on to become a general in the army, rising to the rank of brigadier-general and commanding a flak at the Battle of Gettysburg - at which he lost a leg, which he put into the military museum in Washington where he would take friends to visit it. Thomas Keneally brilliantly recreates an extraordinary period, when women were punished for violating codes of society that did not bind men.And the caddish, good-looking Dan Sickles personifies the extremes of the era: as a womaniser, he introduced his favourite madam to Queen Victoria while his wife stayed at home, and he installed his housekeeper as his mistress while his second wife took up residence nearby. "American Scoundrel" is the lens through which the reader can view history at a time when America was being torn apart.
Few Americans and even fewer citizens of other nations understand the electoral process in the United States. Still fewer understand the role played by political parties in the electoral process or the ironies within the system. Participation in elections in the United States is much lower than in the vast majority of mature democracies. Perhaps this is because of the lack of competition in a country where only two parties have a true chance of winning, despite the fact that a large number of citizens claim allegiance to neither and think badly of both. Or perhaps it is because in the U.S. campaign contributions disproportionately favor incumbents in most legislative elections, or that largely unregulated groups such as the now notorious 527s have as much impact on the outcome of a campaign as do the parties or the candidates' campaign organizations. Studying these factors, you begin to get a very clear picture indeed of the problems that underlay our much trumpeted electoral system. This Very Short Introduction introduces the reader to these issues and more, providing an insider's view of how the system actually works while shining a light on some of its flaws.As we enter what is sure to be yet another highly contested election year, it is more important than ever that Americans take the time to learn the system that puts so many in power.
From Diane Abbott to Hugo Young via Keynesianism and Thatcherism, from Major to Millbank and from New Labour to Norman Tebbitt, this book is the ultimate student reference guide to British politics. The 2nd edition has been fully updated to take account of all the changes that have taken place in British politics since 2004. With over one thousand entries, the book covers the personalities, policies and institutions that have shaped British politics, with special emphasis on developments since the beginning of the twentieth century. This is the ideal instant reference book on British politics. It provides the reader with short, authoritative explanations and definitions of key terms, institutions, offices of state, political events, processes and policies as well as biographies of well known politicians, political thinkers, movements and theorists. Any student unsure of a term, an event, the details of the life of a prominent politician, or the inner workings of an institution can turn to this book for immediate assistance.
This book introduces the vital elements of American politics, emphasizing how these elements have evolved into the form they take today. By using a historical-institutional approach to the various parts of American politics, Valelly communicates that the American political system is, and always has been, a work in progress-one unfolding within, and also constantly updating, an eighteenth-century constitutional framework. Valelly begins by asking what Americans want from their politics and answers with a four-part analysis: (1) the politics of "peace and prosperity," (2) the sometimes illiberal politics of conformity and Americanization, (3) the politics of large-scale problem-solving (e.g., the abolition of slavery) and "perfection of the Union," and (4) the deep public desire for constitutional continuity. The last item provides the organizational framework/theme for the rest of the book.Additional chapters treat parties and polarization (stressing that contemporary polarization reinforces constitutional persistence because it provides for a mix of policy immobility and power-sharing between parties that bitterly disagree); a survey of the basic institutions: the Presidency, Congress, the judicial branch, the unelected bureaucracy of the independent agencies, and state and local governments. A third group of chapters deals with political communication, public opinion, voting and the boundaries of the electorate, and the politics of government steering of the economy. Finally, Valelly considers the puzzle of the persistence for more than two centuries of the basic constitutional forms established in 1787. The author employs a mix of quantitative data and historical examples to illustrate the main themes.
The US presidential election is, quite simply, the greatest show on Earth. With a cast of seeming grotesques on either side, apparently motivated by a mixture of anxiety, intimidation, greed, class warfare, sex and most of all, money, it sometimes seems more like a soap opera than a competition to occupy the most important executive position in the world's most powerful country. The Palin Effect is an extraordinary expose of the political depravities and media-proliferated inequalities of the entire electoral process. Former Fox and BBC journalist Shana Pearlman looks at what motivates the protagonists in the 2012 election - the media, the people, the candidates themselves - and reveals what we can expect from the race to the White House. She begins by looking at the treatment meted out to one of the most vilified characters in recent American politics and discovers that truth is the first casualty in the struggle to the summit.Beneath the extraordinary media and public reaction to Sarah Palin, Pearlman detects an iniquity that penetrates deep into the modern American psyche, and comes to the dramatic conclusion that the "land of the free" is nowhere near as free as it thinks itself. The Palin Effect demonstrates how the declining fortunes of the middle-class in America have coincided with the rise of the new right and looks at the deep anxiety that both occurrences have provoked in the cultural elites. Shana Pearlman shows how sex, money and class are vitally linked in the hysterical circus that is the United States presidential election.
Tony Wright's Very Short Introduction to British Politics is an interpretative essay on the British political system, rather than an abbreviated textbook on how it currently works. He identifies key characteristics and ideas of the British tradition, and investigates what makes British politics distinctive, while emphasizing throughout how these characteristics are reflected in the way the political system functions. Each chapter is organized around a key theme, such as the constitution or political accountability, which is first established and then explored with examples and illustrations. In this new edition Wright considers how the system has recently changed and continues to do so, in light of the coalition government and the fall of New Labour, as well as the impact of the financial crisis and issues such as terrorism and immigration.
'Thirteen wasted years'? Or the dawn of a new 'affluent society'? This book explores which description more appropriately fits the era of Conservative government in Britain after 1951. The author assesses the changing fortune of successive administrations under Churchill, Eden, Macmillan and Douglas-Home. He also analyses broader questions such as post-war 'decline', the nature of 'consensus politics' and the electoral effects of Britain's entrenched class system. In the first major stuy to have access to all official papers for 1951-64, Dr Jefferys provides a fresh critique of a key period in British political history.