The New Liberalism: The Rising Power of Citizen Groups

Overview

If you think liberalism is dead, think again. In this sure-to-be-controversial new book, Jeffrey M. Berry argues that modern liberalism is not only still alive, it's actually thriving. Today's new liberalism has evolved from a traditional emphasis on bread-and-butter economic issues to a form he calls "postmaterialism" - quality-of-life concerns such as enhancing the environment, protecting consumers, or promoting civil rights. Berry concludes that although liberal citizen groups make up only a small portion of ...
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Overview

If you think liberalism is dead, think again. In this sure-to-be-controversial new book, Jeffrey M. Berry argues that modern liberalism is not only still alive, it's actually thriving. Today's new liberalism has evolved from a traditional emphasis on bread-and-butter economic issues to a form he calls "postmaterialism" - quality-of-life concerns such as enhancing the environment, protecting consumers, or promoting civil rights. Berry concludes that although liberal citizen groups make up only a small portion of the thousands of lobbying organizations in Washington, they have been, and will continue to be, a major force in shaping the political landscape.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Berry (political science, Tufts U.) finds that liberal thought has shifted from traditional bread-and-butter economic issues to what he calls postmaterialism, concerned with the quality of life in such areas as the environment, consumer protection, and civil rights. He analyzes the activities of the US Congress in 1963, 1979, and 1991 to demonstrate the increasing lobbying efforts of citizens' groups. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknew.com)
From the Publisher

"Berry marshals copious evidence that over the past four decades, liberal citizen groups have outperformed conservative groups and business lobbies in almost every regard —commanding more positive media attention, winning more legislative victories, and indeed lasting longer as organizations." — The American Prospect

"In 'The New Liberalism' (Brookings Institution Press), Jeffrey Berry, a professor at Tufts University, has tracked the influence of consumer advocacy and environmental groups since the 1960s. He concludes that they have been more effective than corporate lobbyists in getting their case across. Between 1963 and 1991, he says, groups such as Mr Nader's own Public Citizen were better at persuading Congress to discuss issues they cared about, better at catching journalists' attention, and so more efficient in shaping laws." — The Economist, 2/28/2004

"To Berry's scholarly inquiry, the quality of life, post-materialist agendas of liberal consumer, environmental, civil rights, and civil liberties groups have become institutionalized and are still giving fits to corporate power. The author's arguments should lift both the insights and morale of liberal citizen groups and provide some humility to business and conservative lobbyists who, somehow, believe that our national capital has been theirs since Reagan took office.... A dramatically counter-intuitive book that should give media-manufactured perceptions some introspective pause. —" —Ralph Nader, 2000 Presidential Candidate for the Green Party and Consumer Acitivist

"The book provides many examples of citizen group issues that Congress enacted into law. Examples include successful outcomes achieved by citizen groups when they were in direct conflict with business interests and when they were advocating on behalf of traditionally marginalized constituencies.

" —Judith R. Saidel, University at Albany, SUNY

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815709077
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1999
  • Pages: 236
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey M. Berry is John Richard Skuse Class of 1941 Professor of Political Science at Tufts University. His most recent book, The New Liberalism: The Rising Power of Citizen Groups (Brookings, 1999) won the Policy Studies Organization's 1999 best book award.

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Table of Contents

1 Not Dead 1
2 The Rise of Citizen Groups 16
3 The Rise of Postmaterialism 34
4 The Power of Citizen Groups 61
5 Liberals Ascendant 87
6 Rich in Resources 119
7 Liberalism Transformed 153
App. A Methodology 171
App. B List of Cases 184
Notes 190
Index 209
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