Unheavenly Chorus Unequal Political Voice and the Broken Promise of American Democracy

ISBN-10: 0691159866

ISBN-13: 9780691159867

Edition: 2013

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Politically active individuals and organizations make huge investments of time, energy, and money to influence everything from election outcomes to congressional subcommittee hearings to local school politics, while other groups and individual citizens seem woefully underrepresented in our political system. The Unheavenly Chorus is the most comprehensive and systematic examination of political voice in America ever undertaken--and its findings are sobering.The Unheavenly Chorus is the first book to look at the political participation of individual citizens alongside the political advocacy of thousands of organized interests--membership associations such as unions, professional associations, trade associations, and citizens groups, as well as organizations like corporations, hospitals, and universities. Drawing on numerous in-depth surveys of members of the public as well as the largest database of interest organizations ever created--representing more than thirty-five thousand organizations over a twenty-five-year period--this book conclusively demonstrates that American democracy is marred by deeply ingrained and persistent class-based political inequality. The well educated and affluent are active in many ways to make their voices heard, while the less advantaged are not. This book reveals how the political voices of organized interests are even less representative than those of individuals, how political advantage is handed down across generations, how recruitment to political activity perpetuates and exaggerates existing biases, how political voice on the Internet replicates these inequalities--and more.In a true democracy, the preferences and needs of all citizens deserve equal consideration. Yet equal consideration is only possible with equal citizen voice. The Unheavenly Chorus reveals how far we really are from the democratic ideal and how hard it would be to attain it.
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Book details

Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 8/25/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 728
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 1.75" tall
Weight: 2.288
Language: English

Richard Foley is professor of philosophy and vice chancellor for strategic planning at New York University. He is the author of "Intellectual Trust in Oneself and Others," "Working Without a Net: A Study of Egocentric Epistemology," and "The Theory of Epistemic Rationality."

List of Figures
List of Tables
Introduction: Democracy and Political Voice
Thinking about Inequality and Political Voice
The (Ambivalent) Tradition of Equality in America
The Context: Growing Economic Inequality and Weakening Unions
Equal Voice and the Dilemmas of Democracy
Inequality of Political Voice and Individual Participation
Does Unequal Voice Matter?
The Persistence of Unequal Voice
Unequal at the Starting Line: The Intergenerational Persistence of Political Inequality with Nancy Burns
Political Participation over the Life Cycle with Jennifer Erkulwater
Political Activism and Electoral Democracy: Perspectives on Economic Inequality and Political Polarization
Inequality of Political Voice and Organized Interest Activity
Political Voice through Organized Interests: Introductory Matters
Who Sings in the Heavenly Chorus? The Shape of the Organized Interest System with Traci Burch and Philip Edward Jones
The Changing Pressure Community
Beyond Organizational Categories
Political Voice through Organized Interest Activity with Philip Edward Jones and Traci Burch
Can We Change the Accent of the Unheavenly Chorus?
Breaking the Pattern through Political Recruitment
Weapon of the Strong? Participatory Inequality and the Internet
What, if Anything, Is to Be Done? with Shauna Shames
Conclusion: Equal Voice and the Promise of American Democracy
Equality and the State and U.S. Constitutions
The Persistence of Political and Nonpolitical Activity
The Intergenerational Transmission of Political Participation
Age, Period, and Cohort Effects
The Washington Representatives Database
Additional Tables
Do Online and Offline Political Activists Differ from One Another?
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