The Oxford Handbook of the American Congress

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No legislature in the world has a greater influence over its nation's public affairs than the US Congress. The Congress's centrality in the US system of government has placed research on Congress at the heart of scholarship on American politics. Generations of American government scholars working in a wide range of methodological traditions have focused their analysis on understanding Congress, both as a lawmaking and a representative institution. The purpose of this volume is to take stock of this impressive and diverse literature, identifying areas of accomplishment and promising directions for future work. The editors have commissioned 37 chapters by leading scholars in the field, each chapter critically engages the scholarship focusing on a particular aspect of congressional politics, including the institution's responsiveness to the American public, its procedures and capacities for policymaking, its internal procedures and development, relationships between the branches of government, and the scholarly methodologies for approaching these topics. The Handbook also includes chapters addressing timely questions, including partisan polarization, congressional war powers, and the supermajoritarian procedures of the contemporary Senate. Beyond simply bringing readers up to speed on the current state of research, the volume offers critical assessments of how each literature has progressed - or failed to progress - in recent decades. The chapters identify the major questions posed by each line of research and assess the degree to which the answers developed in the literature are persuasive. The goal is not simply to tell us where we have been as a field, but to set an agenda for research on Congress for the next decade.

The Oxford Handbooks of American Politics are a set of reference books offering authoritative and engaging critical overviews of the state of scholarship on American politics. Each volume focuses on a particular aspect of the field. The project is under the General Editorship of George C. Edwards III, and distinguished specialists in their respective fields edit each volume. The Handbooks aim not just to report on the discipline, but also to shape it as scholars critically assess the scholarship on a topic and propose directions in which it needs to move. The series is an indispensable reference for anyone working in American politics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A remarkable volume. Eric Schickler and Frances Lee have assembled an impressive array of scholars who have produced a set of essays that cover the full range of topics for the study of Congress. They deal with elections and institutional considerations, as well as various approaches to analyzing the House and Senate. Moreover, the essays are not merely summaries of the literature. They offer critical evaluations of the analyses that have been done, and perceptive and useful suggestions about future directions for research. Every library will want to have this book in its collection, and every congressional researcher will want a copy for her or his own."--David W. Rohde, Professor of Political Science, Duke University

"The Oxford Handbooks of American Politics are a grandly ambitious undertaking. Success depends on coverage, scholarship, and editorial command. Measured by these standards, the Handbooks will be immensely valuable to the discipline. The right topics are analyzed by knowledgeable scholars and managed by experienced editors. A five-star project that will influence teaching and research for decades."--Charles O. Jones, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison

"A service to the study of politics ... [one] of the finest volumes ever published by an academic press. Editors Schickler and Lee have assembled an all-star cast of scholars who produce uniformly excellent, comprehensive treatments of the vast scholarly literature on Congress ... Every library in the US should have a copy of this book on its shelves.--S. Q. Kelly, California State University Channel Islands, CHOICE

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199559947
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/30/2011
  • Series: Oxford Handbooks Series
  • Pages: 925
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 2.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric Schickler is the author of Disjointed Pluralism: Institutional Innovation and the Development of the U.S. Congress (Princeton University Press, 2001) and co-author, with Greg Wawro, of Filibuster: Obstruction and Lawmaking in the U.S. Senate (Princeton University Press, 2006). Both books received APSA's Richard F. Fenno Award for the best book published on legislative politics. He is also co-author of Partisan Hearts and Minds (with Donald Green and Bradley Palmquist), which was published in 2002 (Yale University Press). He has authored or co-authored articles in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Comparative Political Studies, Studies in American Political Development, Public Opinion Quarterly, and Social Science History. He is Jeffrey and Ashley McDermott Chair in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

Frances E. Lee is author of Beyond Ideology: Politics, Principles and Partisanship in the U.S. Senate (University of Chicago Press, 2009), coauthor of Sizing Up The Senate: The Unequal Consequences of Equal Representation (University of Chicago Press 1999), and co-author of a comprehensive textbook on the U.S. Congress, Congress and Its Members (CQ Press). Her research has appeared in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, and Legislative Studies Quarterly. Her work has received national recognition, including the APSA's E. E. Schattschneider Award for the best dissertation in American Politics, the D. B. Hardeman Award presented by the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation for the best book on a congressional topic, and the APSA's Richard F. Fenno, Jr. Award for the best book on legislative politics published. She is Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland-College Park.

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Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction
1. Studying the Congress, Eric Schickler and Frances E. Lee
2. Behavioral Approaches to the Study of Congress, Bruce Oppenheimer
3. Formal Approaches to the Study of Congress, Craig Volden and Alan Wiseman
4. Measuring Legislative Preferences, Nolan McCarty
5. Touching the Bones: Interviewing and Direct Observational Studies of Congress, Ross K. Baker
6. Historical Approaches to the Study of Congress: Towards a Congressional Vantage on American Political Development, Ira Katznelson
Part II: Elections
7. House and Senate Elections, Jamie L. Carson and Jason M. Roberts
8. Congressional Campaigns, Tracy Sulkin
9. Congressional Redistricting, Michael P. McDonald
10. Campaign Finance in Congressional Elections, Robin Kolodny
Part III: Representation and Responsiveness
11. Descriptive Representation: Understanding the Impact of Identity on Substantive Representation of Group Interests, Michele L. Swers and Stella M. Rouse
12. Bicameral Representation, Frances E. Lee
13. Dyadic Representation, Stephen Ansolabehere and Philip Edward Jones
14. Pork Barrel Politics, Diana Evans
15. Public Opinion and Congressional Policy, David Brady
16. Public Evaluations of Congress by, John D. Griffin
Part IV: Congressional Institutions and Procedures
17. Party Leadership, Randall Strahan
18. Congressional Committees, Larry Evans
19. The Supermajority Senate, Greg Wawro
20. Managing Plenary Time in Democratic Legislatures: The U.S. Congress in Comparative Context, by Gary Cox and Mathew McCubbins
21. Congressional Reforms, Scott Adler
22. The Congressional Budget Process, John B. Gilmour
Part V: Politics and Policymaking
23. Party Polarization by Brian F. Schaffner
24. Deliberation in Congress, Paul Quirk and William Bendix
25. Roll Call Votes, Sean Theriault, Patrick Hickey and Abby Blass
26. Lobbying and Interest Group Advocacy, Beth Leech
27. The Ties that Bind: Coalitions in Congress, John Wilkerson and Barry Pump
28. Legislative Productivity and Gridlock, Sarah A. Binder
Part VI: Congressional Development
29. The Development of Congressional Elections, Wendy J. Schiller
30. The Evolution of Party Leadership, Jeff Jenkins
32. The Development of the Committee System, by Eric Schickler
32. Majority Rule and Minority Rights, Douglas Dion
33. Sectionalism and Congressional Development, Richard Bensel
Part VII: Congress and the Constitutional System
34. Congress & the Executive Branch: Delegation and Presidential Dominance, B. Dan Wood
35. Congressional War Powers, Linda L. Fowler
36. The Amorphous Relationship Between Congress and the Courts, Michael A. Bailey, Forrest Maltzman, and Charles R. Shipan
Part VIII: Reflections
37. Reflections on the Study of Congress, 1969-2009, Morris Fiorina
38. Theorizing about Congress, David Mayhew

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