LABYRINTHS OF DEMOCRACY: Adaptations, Linkages, Representation, and Policies in Urban Politics by Heinz & Kenneth Prewitt Eulau

LABYRINTHS OF DEMOCRACY: Adaptations, Linkages, Representation, and Policies in Urban Politics

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This fat, imposing volume is for believers in computer sociology or those who need materials for courses in political science and urban planning. A large staff of graduate students interviewed members of 82 city councils in the San Francisco Bay Area. The authors assume that the 77-item computer-processed questionnaire thrown at 425 councilmen yields some important approximation of the relationship between the government and the governed. External factors are discounted (from the role of federal and state government to the sway of corporate decisions, racial conflict, or the psychology of the governed themselves) and working definitions have a fancified grade-school echo: ""Governing is. . .mediating or intervening between man and his environment. . . . Elections. . . serve to establish linkages between the council and the community. . . . Representative democracy means the citizens have an opportunity to participate in governance"" and such higher flights of tautology as ""the test of a governing body's responsiveness is ultimately in the kind of policy it pursues."" The authors conclude that ""democratic governance resembles the labyrinth"" where the seekers are groups of the governed, and the end product is a policy of ""muddling through."" Muddle also characterizes Eulau and Prewitt's own method: ""Our analysis has been alternatively marginal, correlational, multivariate, causal, contextual, or configurative, depending on what the data seemed to permit."" A byzantine expression of what most people call old-fashioned pluralism.

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 1973
Publisher: Bobbs-Merrill