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Disjointed Pluralism : Institutional Innovation and the Development of the U.S. Congress - Eric Schickler

Disjointed Pluralism

Institutional Innovation and the Development of the U.S. Congress

Paperback Published: 6th May 2001
ISBN: 9780691049267
Number Of Pages: 372

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From the 1910 overthrow of "Czar" Joseph Cannon to the reforms enacted when Republicans took over the House in 1995, institutional change within the U.S. Congress has been both a product and a shaper of congressional politics. For several decades, scholars have explained this process in terms of a particular collective interest shared by members, be it partisanship, reelection worries, or policy motivations. Eric Schickler makes the case that it is actually interplay among multiple interests that determines institutional change. In the process, he explains how congressional institutions have proved remarkably adaptable and yet consistently frustrating for members and outside observers alike.

Analyzing leadership, committee, and procedural restructuring in four periods (1890-1910, 1919-1932, 1937-1952, and 1970-1989), Schickler argues that coalitions promoting a wide range of member interests drive change in both the House and Senate. He shows that multiple interests determine institutional innovation within a period; that different interests are important in different periods; and, more broadly, that changes in the salient collective interests across time do not follow a simple logical or developmental sequence. Institutional development appears disjointed, as new arrangements are layered on preexisting structures intended to serve competing interests. An epilogue assesses the rise and fall of Newt Gingrich in light of these findings.

Schickler's model of "disjointed pluralism" integrates rational choice theory with historical institutionalist approaches. It both complicates and advances efforts at theoretical synthesis by proposing a fuller, more nuanced understanding of institutional innovation--and thus of American political development and history.

Industry Reviews

Winner of the Fenno Prize "This is a very good read for students of Congress who puzzle over the institution's configuration... An excellent examination of institutional change."--Choice "If we know anything about the U.S. Congress it is this: Congress is a dynamic, ever-changing institution... Alas, for good reasons our theories of congressional organization tend to the static and our empirical analyses tend to the cross-sectional. Eric Schickler's fine book joins a growing set of efforts to understand how and why Congress changes."--Garry Young, Political Science Quarterly "This book is essential reading for those interested in internal legislative politics, and an important contribution to the more general literature on American politics."--Keith E. Whittington, Congress and the Presidency

List of Figuresp. ix
List of Tablesp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Disjointed Pluralism and Institutional Changep. 3
Institutional Development, 1890-1910: An Experiment in Party Governmentp. 27
Institutional Development, 1919-1932: Cross-Party Coalitions, Bloc Government, and Republican Rulep. 85
Institutional Development, 1937-1952: The Conservative Coalition, Congress against the Executive, and Committee Governmentp. 136
Institutional Development, 1970-1989: A Return to Party Government or the Triumph of Individualism?p. 189
Understanding Congressional Changep. 249
Epilogue. Institutional Change in the 1990sp. 270
Case Selectionp. 277
Votes Pertaining to Institutional Changes in Each Periodp. 281
Notesp. 295
Referencesp. 329
Indexp. 349
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691049267
ISBN-10: 0691049262
Series: Princeton Studies in American Politics
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 372
Published: 6th May 2001
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.57