Who Rules America? Challenges to Corporate and Class Dominance / Edition 6

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Drawing from a power elite perspective and the latest empirical data, this classic text is an invaluable tool for teaching students about how power operates in U.S. society. Domhoff argues that the owners and top-level managers in large income-producing properties are far and away the dominant figures in the U.S. Their corporations, banks, and agribusinesses come together as a corporate community that dominates the federal government in Washington and their real estate, construction, and land development companies form growth coalitions that dominate most local governments. By providing empirical evidence for his argument, Domhoff encourages students to think critically about the power structure in American society and its implications for our democracy.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780078111563
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Higher Education
  • Publication date: 7/24/2009
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 875,051
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface viii

Introduction: This Is the Ideal Historical Moment to Be Reading This Book xi

1 Class and Power in America 1

What Is a Social Class? 1

Social Class According to Social Scientists 4

Is There an American Upper Class? 7

Is the Upper Class an Economic Class? 10

What Is Power? 12

The Social Science View of Power 13

Three Power Indicators 15

What Do Other Social Scientists Think? 20

Here's the Plan 21

2 The Corporate Community 24

The Unexpected Origins of the Corporate Community 26

The Board of Directors 28

The Corporate Community Today 30

The Director Network as an "Inner Circle" 35

Strategic Alliances/Producer Networks 37

Is There a Separate Military-Industrial Complex? 38

The Incorporation of High-Tech Companies 40

The Corporate Lawyers 43

From Small Farms to Giant Agribusinesses 45

Small Business: Not a Counterweight 47

Local Businesses Form Growth Coalitions 49

Structural Power and Its Limits 51

3 The Corporate Community and the Upper Class 55

Prepping for Power 57

Social Clubs 61

The Feminine Half of the Upper Class 68

Dropouts, Failures, and Change Agents 71

Continuity and Upward Mobility 72

The Upper Class and Corporate Control 74

Where Do Corporate Executives Come from? 80

The Assimilation of Rising Corporate Executives 81

Class Awareness: A Capitalist Mentality 83

4 The Policy-Planning Network 85

An Overview of the Policy-Planning Network 87

Foundations 90

Think Tanks 97

The Mixed Role of Universities in American Power Conflicts 99

The Policy-Discussion Groups 100

The Committee for Economic Development: A Policy Group in Decline 107

The Business Council 111

The BusinessRoundtable 111

The Liberal-Labor Policy Network 113

The Power Elite 115

5 The Role of Public Opinion 119

The Opinion-Shaping Network 120

Striving to Shape Opinion on Foreign Policy 130

Trying to Shape Opinion on Economic Policies 132

Creating Doubt about Scientific Findings 135

Social Issues 137

The Role of the Mass Media 139

The Role of Public Opinion Surveys 144

The Enforcement of Public Opinion 144

When Public Opinion Can and Cannot Be Ignored 146

6 Parties and Elections 147

When and How Do Elections Matter? 147

Why Only Two Major Parties? 150

Republicans and Democrats 152

Party Primaries as Government Structures 156

The Critical Importance of Campaign Finance 159

The Obama Financial Network 163

Other Corporate Support for Candidates 166

The Results of the Candidate-Selection Process 168

The Liberal-Labor Coalition in Electoral Politics 171

7 How the Power Elite Dominate Government 173

The Role of Governments 174

The Special-Interest Process 176

The Policy-Making Process 179

Appointees to Government 183

Is the Obama Administration Different? 187

Supreme Court Appointments 195

The Great Exception: Labor Policy 198

Why Do Business Leaders Feel Powerless? 204

The Limits of Corporate Domination 208

8 The Big Picture 210

A Critique of Alternative Theories 212

Why Is the Corporate Community So Powerful? 219

9 Potential Challenges to Class Domination 225

The Transformation of American Politics 225

Will the Obama Administration Challenge Class Domination? 229

Challenges to Class Dominance through Social Disruption 233

Appendix: Indicators of Upper-Class Standing 236

References 240

Index 259

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