WHO'S RUNNING THIS TOWN? by Ritchie P. Lowry


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Well, who? We never do find out for sure, and that's one of the problems of public life in ""Micro City"" as well as one of the author's main points, in his critical look at the ""myth"" of grass-roots democracy. But using a combination of the Elitist, Mass, and Pluralist theories of community power, Mr. Lowry gives a fuller understanding of small-town society that any of those previous studies employing only one concept. The picture of indigenous conservatism sparring with contemporary urban change seems especially well drawn. To the city-bred, the book presents a rounded idea of how the other half (about 40% of U.S. population, according to figures given) lives. The author's estimate of the extend to which the small community can serve as a microcosm of the larger society may be questioned but his assessment of the important of non-megalopolitan America is certainly not overstated, given the recent upsurge in national politics of ultra-conservative sentiment based firmly on small-town ideology. Mr. Lowry documents the development of this phenomenon in terms of Micro City's history and the recent rapid social change that has touched even the most insular portions of American life. It's odd what makes a community of 30,000 a small town; Athens at her greatest was after all not too much larger. This book is, among many other things, an absorbing study of just that conundrum.

Publisher: Harper & Row