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The Presidential Nominating Process: A Place for Us? / Edition 1

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This landmark volume brings together some of the titans of social movement theory in a grand reassessment of its status. For some time, the field has been divided between a dominant structural approach and a cultural or constructivist tradition. The gaps and misunderstandings between the two sides—as well as the efforts to bridge them—closely parallel those in the discipline of sociology at large. This book aims to further the dialogue between these two distinct approaches to social movements and to show the broader implications for sociology as a whole as it struggles with issues including culture, emotion, and agency.

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Editorial Reviews

Baltimore Sun
A handy, well-researched guide to the nuts, bolts and history of presidential politics.
The Frey Report
Well-written and interesting book.
Political Science Quarterly
Concise yet illuminating. . . . This enjoyable, informative book merits consideration by undergraduate instructors and civic-minded readers alike.
Harold W. Stanley
Rhodes Cook delivers an excellent, insightful, and highly readable work. Cook gives valuable historical and comparative accounts of leadership selection both in the U.S. and abroad, as well as authoritative appraisals of previous and proposed reforms, making this an indispensable book for understanding the evolution of the presidential nomination process leading to the 2004 primaries and caucuses.
E. J. Dionne Jr.
Rhodes Cook's searching intelligence, his love for what is real—and local—in American politics, and his indefatigable capacity for research have made him a national resource. He has turned his gifts to a nearly impossible problem: the search for a better way to nominate our presidential candidates. This thoughtful and helpful book puts so many of his gifts on display—notably fairness, clarity, sophistication, and an admirable love for democracy and popular participation. This is an enormous contribution to a debate we have every four years, and will no doubt have again soon."
Richard Bond
Terrific insights on how the leader of the free world is chosen. Read this book and you will never not vote again!
Ken Bode
William Marcy 'Boss' Tweed once said, 'I don't care who elects them as long as I nominate them.' Tweed was right: the critical first step in presidential elections is in the maze of primaries and caucuses, and in this timely book, Rhodes Cook tells us why it starts so early and costs so much. He also shows us who has the real power in the system, how it got that way and what reforms are needed to restore some influence to the average voter.
Mark Shields
For an awful lot of Americans, including many of us who cover the subject for a living, the nation's presidential nominating system and primaries remain a source of mystery and confusion. With his signature insight and gift for explanation, Rhodes Cook has written a political Baedeker's or Michelin—the definitive guide to understanding the nation's presidential nominating system. If you read Rhodes Cook's The Presidential Nominating Process: A Place for Us? I guarantee you will become a more informed - and maybe even a better—citizen or journalist.
Library Journal
A former political writer for Congressional Quarterly and author of the highly regarded The Rhodes Cook Letter, Cook is one of the true authoritative sources on the presidential nominating process. This short book is jam-packed with important information on the nominating process, placing it in both historical and comparative perspective. Cook traces the historical development of the nominating process from the early days of congressional caucus nominations to the development and proliferation of presidential primary elections. In doing so, he points out both the strengths and the many weaknesses of the process. Cook also performs a great service for readers by briefly comparing how the United States selects its leaders with the nominating methods of countries such as Great Britain, France, Germany, Canada, Mexico, and Israel (this alone makes the book a valuable contribution). This truly outstanding work draws the reader into a complex web of money, primaries, and politics, offering suggestions for reform but holding out only slim hopes that the reforms will either be enacted or effective.-Michael A. Genovese Loyola Marymount Univ., Los Angeles Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Contemporary Sociology
[This book] is a most welcome and useful assessment of recent theory, one that will contribute to regenerating the field of social movements and contentious politics.
(Uk) Political Studies Review
This volume should be particularly valuable reading on social movements for academics and those with an advanced knowledge of social movement theories. True to its title, the book engages several important topics in these fields and gives one the feeling of being privy to discussions on the state-of-the-art of new research in an increasingly important body of work.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742525948
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/15/2003
  • Series: American Political Challenges Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeff Goodwin is professor of sociology at New York University. James M. Jasper is the author of several books including Nuclear Politics, The Animal Rights Crusade (with Dorothy Nelkin), The Art of Moral Protest, and Restless Nation.

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Table of Contents

1 Caught in a Winding, Snarling Vine: The Structural Bias of Political Process Theory 3
2 Wise Quacks 31
3 Paradigm Warriors: Regress and Progress in the Study of Contentious Politics 39
4 Tending the Vineyard: Cultivating Political Process Research 47
5 Political. Opportunity. Structure. Some Splitting to Balance the Lumping 61
6 Trouble in Paradigms 75
7 Culture Is Not Just in Your Head 97
8 The Poststructuralist Consensus in Social Movement Theory 111
9 The Intellectual Challenges of Toiling in the Vineyard 121
10 Knowledge for What? Thoughts on the State of Social Movement Studies 135
11 Passionate Political Processes: Bringing Emotions Back into the Study of Social Movements 155
12 Why David Sometimes Wins: Strategic Capacity in Social Movements 177
13 Revisiting the U.S. Civil Rights Movement: Toward a More Synthetic Understanding of the Origins of Contention 201
14 Reflections on Social Movement Theory: Criticisms and Proposals 233
15 Hot Movements, Cold Cognition: Thinking about Social Movements in Gendered Frames 247
References 263
Index 297
Contributors 305
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