Great Theatre: The American Congress in the 1990s

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Congress is a great stage, and its members play their roles under the spotlight of a skeptical public, an acerbic media, and a plethora of interested parties. The 104th Congress, the first in four decades to be Republican controlled, is a watershed in congressional history. Using the theater metaphor to characterize the actions of Congress and to help make the institution more understandable, congressional life and behavior is dissected and placed in the broader context of changes in Congress in the 1990s. This book underscores the relationship among Congress and the other branches of the United States government.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In 1994, the Republicans gave political scientists a great gift—the 104th Congress—and the Weisberg-Patterson collection of thoughful essays takes full advantage of it. The result: an original, well-informed, up-to-date mini course on the contemporary Congress." Richard Fenno, University of Rochester

"Congress is indeed on stage, there for all to see, and as the authors of these twelve sparkling essays realize, the relentlessly open nature of the institution affects everything it does and touches. Those readers seeking to understand fallout from the momentous election of 1994 as well as those seeking more general information about the modern Congress will greatly benefit from this volume, edited by two of the discipline's finest." John R. Hibbing, University of Nebraska

"Great Theatre presents the historic 104th Congress in all its glory as revealed by a talented cast of astute political scientists. Both scholars and students of American politics should be sure to catch the show." Gary Jacobson, University of California, San Diego

"A good book to bring students of Congress up to date on what has been happening there over the last decade. Recommended for all college and university collections." Choice

"For those seeking an interesting, diverse, and thoughtful collection of academic writings on contemporary (pre-impeachment) Congress, Great Theatre is a worthwhile resource and a viable addition to any medium-sized or larger academic library collection." Cassandra Hartnett, Journal of Government Information

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521585187
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2005
  • Pages: 335
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

Figures and tables; Preface; Contributors; Part I. Introduction: 1. Theatre in the round: congress in action Herbert F. Weisberg and Samuel C. Patterson; Part II. Congress and its Audience; 2. Representation in congress: line drawing and minorities Kenny J. Whitby and Franklin D. Gilliam Jr; 3. Unsympathetic audience: citizens' evaluations of congress Samuel C. Patterson and David C. Kimball; 4. Back from intermission: the 1994 elections and the return to divided government Dean Lacy; Part III. Congress at Play: 5. Directing 535 leading men and leading ladies: party leadership in the modern congress Paul S. Herrnson; 6. Little theatre: committees in congress Tim Groseclose and David C. King; 7. The unfolding drama: party and ideology in the 104th house Barry C. Burden and Aage R. Clausen; Part IV. Congress and Other Actors: 8. The plot thickens: congress and the president Barbara Sinclair; 9. Congress and the courts: a case of casting Elliot E. Slotnick and Sheldon Goldman; 10. Behind the scenes: the Supreme Court and congress in statutory interpretation Lori Hausegger and Lawrence Baum; 11. Congress and foreign policy: a neglected stage Randall B. Ripley; Part V. Conclusion: 12. 'The play's the thing': congress and the future Samuel C. Patterson and Herbert F. Weisberg; References; Index.

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