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« America Alone, by Stefan Halper & Jonathan Clarke | Main | How You Can Organize a Voter Registration Drive! »

Diminished Democracy, by Theda Skocpol

By an everyday book reader
March 1, 2007

Pundits and social observers have voiced alarm each year as fewer Americans involve themselves in voluntary groups that meet regularly. Thousands of nonprofit groups have been launched in recent times, but most are run by professionals who lobby Congress or deliver social services to clients.

What will happen to U.S. democracy if participatory groups and social movements wither, while civic involvement becomes one more occupation rather than every citizen's right and duty?

Diminished Democracy: From Membership to Management in American Civic Life
by Theda SkocpolBook Picture

Softcover: 384 pages
ISBN: 9780806136271, 0806136278
University of Oklahoma Press
March 2004

In Diminished Democracy, Theda Skocpol shows that this decline in public involvement has not always been the case in this country-and how, by understanding the causes of this change, we might reverse it.

"Theda Skocpol is a national treasure because she constantly turns her searching mind to the task of making the United States a fairer and more democratic place. Diminished Democracy is a brilliant contribution to that effort, a collection of insights that will overturn much conventional wisdom. All who care about democracy and its prospects owe themselves time with this book." - E. J. Dionne

"I always learn something from Theda Skocpol, and occasionally I even agree with her! Her Diminished Democracy is truly impressive - both a good read and an important scholarly book, which is a rare combination indeed." - William Kristol

Chapters include:

  1. How the United States Became a Civic Nation
  2. Joiners, Organizers, and Citizens
  3. From Membership to Management
  4. Why Civic Life Changed
  5. What We Have Lost
  6. Reinventing American Civic Democracy

Theda Skocpol is Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology and Director of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University. She is the author of numerous books, including Protecting Soldiers and Mothers: The Political Origins of Social Policy in the United States and The Missing Middle: Working Families and the Future of American Social Policy.

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