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The question at the center of the seventeenth edition of THE IRONY OF DEMOCRACY is “How democratic is American society?” While most American government textbooks address politics from a pluralist perspective, this text approaches the subject using an elitist perspective, thus exposing the irony between it and democratic theory and modern pluralist theory. As a result, this text helps students understand why the U.S. government works as it does.
- Every chapter in this edition has been updated to reflect the newest examples and manifestations of the core concepts of the text.
- Chapter 5, “The Media: Elite-Mass Communication,” includes a new section that discusses today's technology elites, presents coverage of the integration of social media into politics, and provides information on the relationship between the Obama Administration and freedom of the press.
- A new “Focus” box in Chapter 7, “Elites and Organized Interests,” discusses billionaire activists Styer and Koch.
- Chapter 9 on the presidency presents a new perspective on Obama's first five years in office-in both domestic and foreign policy-as well as new material on Obama and executive power.
- The core chapters on political institutions have been updated to reflect a divided Congress, the Obama Administration, and the new Supreme Court rulings. The sections on lawmaking focus more on the “Kill Bill” reality to reflect that Congress appears to be better at preventing laws than making them. The continuing diversification of the Congress is also covered.
- Chapter 11, “The Federal Bureaucracy,” includes new coverage of ObamaCare and the Internal Revenue Service scandal.
- Chapter 14, “The United States as Global Elite,” covers the reassessment of the U.S. role in the world political system in the post Iraq War period, as well as current security threats and a resurgent Al Qaeda.
- “For Further Thought” boxes provide opportunities for students to use their critical-thinking skills in light of the chapter content. End-of-chapter questions also promote development of students' critical-thinking skills.
- Chapter summaries provide “An Elitist Interpretation” that has been enhanced and emphasized to encourage reflection on and discussion of the chapter's topics.
- “Focus” boxes in each chapter encourage students to critically approach contemporary issues in American democracy, such as “Mass Views of Elite Governance,” “Greed in the Boardroom,” and “Politainment = Politics + Entertainment.”
- Author Louis Schubert continues to revitalize and update this classic text. Using an uncommon yet realistic approach, THE IRONY OF DEMOCRACY combines an endorsement of fundamental democratic values with an understanding of the hard realities of the working democracy.
- Irony, often in political cartoons, is used to inspire students to address issues and topics present in the text.
- “In Brief” boxes provide students with clear and concise summaries of important arguments and theories throughout the text.
2. The Elite Consensus of the Founding Fathers: U.S. Political Principles.
3. Elites in America.
4. Masses in the United States.
5. The Media: Elite-Mass Communication.
6. Elections, Parties, and Democracy.
7. Elites and Organized Interests.
8. Congress: The Legislative Elite.
9. The Presidency.
10. Courts: Elites in Black Robes.
11. The Federal Bureaucracy.
12. Federalism: State and Community Elites.
13. Civil Rights: Diversifying the Elite.
14. The United States as Global Elite.
Epilogue: What Can Students Do?
Appendix: The Constitution of the United States of America.
“The Irony of Democracy is a good alternative introduction to American politics and government that challenges students to think critically about U.S. government and their role in it.”
“[THE IRONY OF DEMOCRACY] makes a strong case for ideas students have not considered before. Some love it, others object strongly to it, but it makes them all think about our system and its values in a new light.”
Cengage provides a range of supplements that are updated in coordination with the main title selection. For more information about these supplements, contact your Learning Consultant.
This free companion website for The Irony of Democracy accessible through cengagebrain.com allows access to chapter-specific interactive learning tools including flashcards, glossaries, and more.