In After the Public Turn, author Frank Farmer argues that counterpublics and the people who make counterpublics—“citizen bricoleurs”—deserve a more prominent role in our scholarship and in our classrooms. Encouraging students to understand and consider resistant or oppositional discourse is a viable route toward mature participation as citizens in a democracy.
Farmer examines two very different kinds of publics, cultural and disciplinary, and discusses two counterpublics within those broad categories: zine discourses and certain academic discourses. By juxtaposing these two significantly different kinds of publics, Farmer suggests that each discursive world can be seen, in its own distinct way, as a counterpublic, an oppositional social formation that has a stake in widening or altering public life as we know it.
Drawing on major figures in rhetoric and cultural theory, Farmer builds his argument about composition teaching and its relation to the public sphere, leading to a more sophisticated understanding of public life and a deeper sense of what democratic citizenship means for our time.
The Meiji Restoration of 1868 inaugurated a period of great change in Japan; it is seldom associated, however, with advances in civil and political rights. By studying parliamentarianism--the theories, arguments, and polemics marshaled in support of a representative system of government--Kyu Hyun Kim uncovers a much more complicated picture of this era than is usually given.
Bringing a fresh perspective as well as drawing on seldom-studied archival materials, Kim examines how parliamentarianism came to dominate the public sphere in the 1870s and early 1880s and gave rise to the movement among local activists and urban intellectuals to establish a national assembly. At the same time, Kim contends that we should confront the public sphere of Meiji Japan without insisting on fitting it into schemes of historical progress, from premodernity to modernity, from feudalism to democracy. The Japanese state was inextricably linked, in its origins as well as its continuing growth, to the self-transformation of Japanese society. One could not change without effecting a change in the other. The Meiji state's efforts to ensure that the state and society were connected only through channels firmly controlled by itself were constantly and successfully contested by the public sphere.
Why has antitrust legislation not lived up to its promise of promoting free-market competition and protecting consumers? Assessing 100 years of antitrust policy in the United States, this book shows that while the antitrust laws claim to serve the public good, they are as vulnerable to the influence of special interest groups as are agricultural, welfare, or health care policies. Presenting classic studies and new empirical research, the authors explain how antitrust caters to self-serving business interests at the expense of the consumer.
The contributors are Peter Asch, George Bittlingmayer, Donald J. Boudreaux, Malcolm B. Coate, Louis De Alessi, Thomas J. DiLorenzo, B. Epsen Eckbo, Robert B. Ekelund, Jr., Roger L. Faith, Richard S. Higgins, William E. Kovacic, Donald R. Leavens, William F. Long, Fred S. McChesney, Mike McDonald, Stephen Parker, Richard A. Posner, Paul H. Rubin, Richard Schramm, Joseph J. Seneca, William F. Shughart II, Jon Silverman, George J. Stigler, Robert D. Tollison, Charlie M. Weir, Peggy Wier, and Bruce Yandle.
Church and State in the City provides the first comprehensive analysis of the city’s long debate about the public interest. Historian William Issel explores the complex ways that the San Francisco Catholic Church—and its lay men and women—developed relationships with the local businesses, unions, other community groups, and city government to shape debates about how to define and implement the common good. Issel’s deeply researched narrative also sheds new light on the city’s socialists, including Communist Party activists—the most important transnational challengers of both capitalism and Catholicism during the twentieth century.
Moreover, Church and State in the City is revisionist in challenging the notion that the history of urban politics and policy can best be understood as the unfolding of a progressive, secular modernization of urban political culture. Issel shows how tussles over the public interest in San Francisco were both distinctive to the city and shaped by its American character.
In the series Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy, edited by Zane L. Miller, David Stradling, and Larry Bennett
Imagining Interest in Political Thought argues that monistic interest—or the shaping and coordination of different pursuits through imagined economies of self and public interest—constitutes the end and means of contemporary liberal government. The paradigmatic theorist of monistic interest is the English political philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832), whose concept of utilitarianism calls for maximization of pleasure by both individuals and the state. Stephen G. Engelmann contends that commentators have too quickly dismissed Bentham’s philosophy as a crude materialism with antiliberal tendencies. He places Benthamite utilitarianism at the center of his account and, in so doing, reclaims Bentham for liberal political theory.
Tracing the development of monistic interest from its origins in Reformation political theory and theology through late-twentieth-century neoliberalism, Engelmann reconceptualizes the history of liberalism as consisting of phases in the history of monistic interest or economic government. He describes how monistic interest, as formulated by Bentham, is made up of the individual’s imagined expectations, which are constructed by the very regime that maximizes them. He asserts that this construction of interests is not the work of a self-serving manipulative state. Rather, the state, which is itself subject to strict economic regulation, is only one cluster of myriad "public" and "private" agencies that produce and coordinate expectations. In place of a liberal vision in which government appears only as a protector of the free pursuit of interest, Engelmann posits that the free pursuit of interest is itself a mode of government, one that deploys individual imagination and choice as its agents.
In The New Constitutionalism, seven distinguished scholars develop an innovative perspective on the power of institutions to shape politics and political life.
Believing that constitutionalism needs to go beyond the classical goal of limiting the arbitrary exercise of political power, the contributors argue that it should—and can—be designed to achieve economic efficiency, informed democratic control, and other valued political ends. More broadly, they believe that political and social theory needs to turn away from the negativism of critical theory to consider how a good society should be "constituted" and to direct the work of designing institutions that can constitute a "good polity," in both the economic and civic senses.
Stephen L. Elkin and Karol Edward Soltan begin with an overview of constitutionalist theory and a discussion of the new constitutionalism within the broader intellectual and historical context of political and social thought. Charles Anderson, James Ceaser, and the editors then offer different interpretations of the central issues regarding institutional design in a constitutionalist social science, consider various ways of performing the task, and discuss the inadequacy of recent political science to the job it ought to be doing. The book concludes with essays by Ted Lowi, Cass Sunstein and Edwin Haefele which apply these themes to the American regime.
Reasonable people disagree about the reach of the federal government, but there is near-universal consensus that it should protect us from such dangers as bacteria-infested food, harmful drugs, toxic pollution, crumbling bridges, and unsafe toys. And yet, the agencies that shoulder these responsibilities are in shambles; if they continue to decline, lives will be lost and natural resources will be squandered. In this timely book, Rena Steinzor and Sidney Shapiro take a hard look at the tangled web of problems that have led to this dire state of affairs.
It turns out that the agencies are not primarily to blame and that regulatory failure actually stems from a host of overlooked causes. Steinzor and Shapiro discover that unrelenting funding cuts, a breakdown of the legislative process, an increase in the number of political appointees, a concurrent loss of experienced personnel, chaotic White House oversight, and ceaseless political attacks on the bureaucracy all have contributed to the broken system. But while the news is troubling, the authors also propose a host of reforms, including a new model for measuring the success of the agencies and a revitalization of the civil service. The People’s Agents and the Battle to Protect the American Public is an urgent and compelling appeal to renew America’s best traditions of public service.
These essays, by widely respected scholars in fields ranging from social and political theory to historical sociology and cultural studies, illuminate the significance of the public/private distinction for an increasingly wide range of debates. Commenting on controversies surrounding such issues as abortion rights, identity politics, and the requirements of democratization, many of these essays clarify crucial processes that have shaped the culture and institutions of modern societies.
In contexts ranging from friendship, the family, and personal life to nationalism, democratic citizenship, the role of women in social and political life, and the contrasts between western and (post-)Communist societies, this book brings out the ways the various uses of the public/private distinction are simultaneously distinct and interconnected. Public and Private in Thought and Practice will be of interest to students and scholars in disciplines including politics, law, philosophy, history, sociology, and women's studies.
Contributors include Jeff Weintraub, Allan Silver, Craig Calhoun, Daniela Gobetti, Jean L. Cohen, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Alan Wolfe, Krishan Kumar, David Brain, Karen Hansen, Marc Garcelon, and Oleg Kharkhordin.
A solution to inequalities wherever we look—in health care, secure retirement, education—is as close as the public library. Or the post office, community pool, or local elementary school. Public options—reasonably priced government-provided services that coexist with private options—are all around us, ready to increase opportunity, expand freedom, and reawaken civic engagement if we will only let them.
Whenever you go to your local public library, send mail via the post office, or visit Yosemite, you are taking advantage of a longstanding American tradition: the public option. Some of the most useful and beloved institutions in American life are public options—yet they are seldom celebrated as such. These government-supported opportunities coexist peaceably alongside private options, ensuring equal access and expanding opportunity for all.
Ganesh Sitaraman and Anne Alstott challenge decades of received wisdom about the proper role of government and consider the vast improvements that could come from the expansion of public options. Far from illustrating the impossibility of effective government services, as their critics claim, public options hold the potential to transform American civic life, offering a wealth of solutions to seemingly intractable problems, from housing shortages to the escalating cost of health care.
Imagine a low-cost, high-quality public option for child care. Or an extension of the excellent Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees to all Americans. Or every person having access to an account at the Federal Reserve Bank, with no fees and no minimums. From broadband internet to higher education, The Public Option reveals smart new ways to meet pressing public needs while spurring healthy competition. More effective than vouchers or tax credits, public options could offer us all fairer choices and greater security.
Public Value and Public Administration
John M. Bryson, Barbara Crosby, and Laura Bloomberg, Editors Georgetown University Press, 2015 Library of Congress JF1351.P858 2015 | Dewey Decimal 351
Governments and nonprofits exist to create public value. Yet what does that mean in theory and practice?
This new volume brings together key experts in the field to offer unique, wide-ranging answers. From the United States, Europe, and Australia, the contributors focus on the creation, meaning, measurement, and assessment of public value in a world where government, nonprofit organizations, business, and citizens all have roles in the public sphere. In so doing, they demonstrate the intimate link between ideas of public value and public values and the ways scholars theorize and measure them. They also add to ongoing debates over what public value might mean, the nature of the most important public values, and how we can practically apply these values. The collection concludes with an extensive research and practice agenda conceived to further the field and mainstream its ideas.
Aimed at scholars, students, and stakeholders ranging from business and government to nonprofits and activist groups, Public Value and Public Administration is an essential blueprint for those interested in creating public value to advance the common good.
Economic individualism and market-based values dominate today's policymaking and public management circles—often at the expense of the common good. In his new book, Barry Bozeman demonstrates the continuing need for public interest theory in government. Public Values and Public Interest offers a direct theoretical challenge to the "utility of economic individualism," the prevailing political theory in the western world.
The book's arguments are steeped in a practical and practicable theory that advances public interest as a viable and important measure in any analysis of policy or public administration. According to Bozeman, public interest theory offers a dynamic and flexible approach that easily adapts to changing situations and balances today's market-driven attitudes with the concepts of common good advocated by Aristotle, Saint Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, and John Dewey.
In constructing the case for adopting a new governmental paradigm based on what he terms "managing publicness," Bozeman demonstrates why economic indices alone fail to adequately value social choice in many cases. He explores the implications of privatization of a wide array of governmental services—among them Social Security, defense, prisons, and water supplies. Bozeman constructs analyses from both perspectives in an extended study of genetically modified crops to compare the policy outcomes using different core values and questions the public value of engaging in the practice solely for the sake of cheaper food.
Thoughtful, challenging, and timely, Public Values and Public Interest shows how the quest for fairness can once again play a full part in public policy debates and public administration.
James Madison is the thinker most responsible for laying the groundwork of the American commercial republic. But he did not anticipate that the propertied class on which he relied would become extraordinarily politically powerful at the same time as its interests narrowed. This and other flaws, argues Stephen L. Elkin, have undermined the delicately balanced system he constructed. In Reconstructing the Commercial Republic, Elkin critiques the Madisonian system, revealing which of its aspects have withstood the test of time and which have not.
The deficiencies Elkin points out provide the starting point for his own constitutional theory of the republic—a theory that, unlike Madison’s, lays out a substantive conception of the public interest that emphasizes the power of institutions to shape our political, economic, and civic lives. Elkin argues that his theory should guide us toward building a commercial republic that is rooted in a politics of the public interest and the self-interest of the middle class. He then recommends specific reforms to create this kind of republic, asserting that Americans today can still have the lives a commercial republic is intended to promote: lives with real opportunities for economic prosperity, republican political self-government, and individual liberty.
Political, intellectual, and academic discourse in the United States has been awash in political correctness, which has itself been berated and defended -- yet little understood. As a corrective, Nelson and Greene look at a more general process: adopting political positions to enhance one's reputation for trustworthiness both to others and to oneself.
Phillip Nelson and Kenneth Greene are Professors of Economics in the Department of Economics at the State University of New York, Binghamton.
Since the end of World War II, runaway fears of Soviet imperialism, global terrorism, and anarchy have tended to drive American foreign policy toward an imperial agenda. At the same time, uncurbed appetites have wasted the environment and driven the country's market economy into the ditch. How can we best sustain our identity as a people and resist the distortions of our current anxieties and appetites?
Ethicist William F. May draws on America's religious and political history and examines two concepts at play in the founding of the country -- contractual and covenantal. He contends that the biblical idea of a covenant offers a more promising way than the language of contract, grounded in self-interest alone, to contain our runaway anxieties and appetites. A covenantal sensibility affirms, "We the people (not simply, We the individuals, or We the interest groups) of the United States." It presupposes a history of mutual giving and receiving and of bearing with one another that undergirds all the traffic in buying and selling, arguing and negotiating, that obtain in the rough terrain of politics. May closes with an account of the covenantal agenda ahead, and concludes with the vexing issue of immigrants and undocumented workers that has singularly tested the covenant of this immigrant nation.
Winner of the Helen and Howard Marraro Prize A Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year
“Perhaps the greatest study ever written of Renaissance political thought.” —Jeffrey Collins, Times Literary Supplement
“Magisterial…Hankins shows that the humanists’ obsession with character explains their surprising indifference to particular forms of government. If rulers lacked authentic virtue, they believed, it did not matter what institutions framed their power.” —Wall Street Journal
“Puts the politics back into humanism in an extraordinarily deep and far-reaching way…For generations to come, all who write about the political thought of Italian humanism will have to refer to it; its influence will be…nothing less than transformative.” —Noel Malcolm, American Affairs
“[A] masterpiece…It is only Hankins’s tireless exploration of forgotten documents…and extraordinary endeavors of editing, translation, and exposition that allow us to reconstruct—almost for the first time in 550 years—[the humanists’] three compelling arguments for why a strong moral character and habits of truth are vital for governing well. Yet they are as relevant to contemporary democracy in Britain, and in the United States, as to Machiavelli.” —Rory Stewart, Times Literary Supplement
“The lessons for today are clear and profound.” —Robert D. Kaplan
Convulsed by a civilizational crisis, the great thinkers of the Renaissance set out to reconceive the nature of society. Everywhere they saw problems. Corrupt and reckless tyrants sowing discord and ruling through fear; elites who prized wealth and status over the common good; religious leaders preoccupied with self-advancement while feuding armies waged endless wars. Their solution was at once simple and radical. “Men, not walls, make a city,” as Thucydides so memorably said. They would rebuild the fabric of society by transforming the moral character of its citizens. Soulcraft, they believed, was a precondition of successful statecraft.
A landmark reappraisal of Renaissance political thought, Virtue Politics challenges the traditional narrative that looks to the Renaissance as the seedbed of modern republicanism and sees Machiavelli as its exemplary thinker. James Hankins reveals that what most concerned the humanists was not reforming institutions so much as shaping citizens. If character mattered more than laws, it would have to be nurtured through a new program of education they called the studia humanitatis: the precursor to our embattled humanities.