Leadership In A Small Town

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Overview

Of all the questions that might be asked about political life, it would be difficult to find one of greater interest than the ancient query: who rules over whom? It appeals powerfully to our curiosity. We want to know who "runs" things--who makes policy decisions in New York, Washington, London, or the town in which we live. Is it a single powerful individual, an economic elite, a series of elites, the citizens, political bosses, or some variant of these possibilities?

The major purpose of this volume is to find an answer to this question for a small American city, and to extend the answer through relevant theory to American cities in general. But much more precisely, answers are sought for these interrelated questions: What are the relationships between the rulers and the ruled? How are the rulers related to each other? Are the rulers the same for all policies or do they differ from one area of policy to another? How do leaders arise, and in what way are they different from other people?

The issues discussed in this volume are familiar to many towns. They range from controversies about the building of a new water system to housing and zoning codes, from charity appeals to low-income housing, from nominations and elections to industrial development and off-street parking. Wildavsky draws parallels to other community studies and formulates general propositions in support of his thesis that American communities are pluralist. And ultimately, Wildavsky is optimistic that small towns foster citizen participation, giving the population more of a chance to direct its own future.

Aaron Wildavsky was, until his death in 1993, professor of political science and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and, while working on the present study, taught at Oberlin College. Transaction has posthumously published Wildavsky's complete essays and papers in five volumes.

Nelson W. Polsby is Heller Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught American politics and government since 1967. He is editor of the Annual Review of Political Science and author of Congress and the Presidency.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765805799
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 406
  • Sales rank: 1,419,083
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Aaron Wildavsky (1930-1993) was considered one of the most innovative and prolific scholars in the field of political research, particularly in the field of risk. At the time of his death, he was a professor of political science and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley. His work focused on reintroducing the importance of culture to political science and he was most famous for his role in developing the cultural theory of risk.

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Table of Contents

1 Rival theories and a method for choosing among them 3
2 The citizens of Oberlin 14
3 Oberlin in the past 33
4 The great water controversy 52
5 The light plant 72
6 The housing code 83
7 Enforcement of the housing code 100
8 Negroes and low-cost housing 110
9 Enforcement of the Zoning ordinance : the Gibson case 127
10 The coming of the FAA 143
11 The Oberlin improvement and development corporation 150
12 The history of the Oberlin off-street parking corporation 159
13 Multiples of six : nomination and election in 1959 167
14 Co-optation 195
15 The united appeal 200
16 The Oberlin city manager 215
17 Bill long : portrait of an activist 236
18 Who rules in Oberlin and why 253
19 How leaders differ from other people 282
20 What's in a reputation? 303
21 On the advantages of living in a mass society 320
22 Why American cities are pluralist 332
23 A strategy of political participation 352
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