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Party Reform

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Consequences of Party Reform

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Consequences of Party Reform by Nelson W. Polsby,Professor of Political Science Nelson W Polsby Book Summary:

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Party Reform

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Party Reform by Anika Gauja Book Summary:

Party Reform is a new comparative study of the politics of party organization. The book provides a novel perspective in party scholarship and develops the concept of 'reform' as distinct from evolutionary and incremental processes of party change. As an outcome, reform is captured in deliberate and often very public changes to parties' organizational rules and processes. As a process, it offers a party the opportunity to 're-brand' and publicly alter its image, to emphasize certain strategic priorities over others, and to alter relationships of power within the party. Analyzing the last ten years of party reform across a handful of established democracies including Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany, the book examines what motivates political parties to undertake organizational reforms and how they go about this process. Party Reform reveals how parties' perceptions of the social trends in which they operate shape reform agendas, and how this relates to competitive demands and pressures from within the party for organizational change. In addition to the motivations for reform, the book is equally concerned with the process of reform. The book demonstrates that declining party memberships have had a fundamental effect on the way in which political parties 'sell' organizational reform: as part of a broader rhetoric of democratization, of re-engagement, and of modernization delivered to diverse audiences - both internal and external to the party. The chapters focus particularly on four key reform initiatives that begin to blur the traditional boundaries of party: the introduction of primaries, the changing meaning of party membership, issues-based online policy development, and community organizing campaigns. Using these cutting-edge developments as primary examples, this book provides a framework for understanding why, and how, reforms occur, and what the consequences might be - in terms of how we think about modern political parties as vehicles for participation and representation. Comparative Politics is a series for researchers, teachers, and students of political science that deals with contemporary government and politics. Global in scope, books in the series are characterised by a stress on comparative analysis and strong methodological rigour. The series is published in association with the European Consortium for Political Research. For more information visit: www.ecprnet.eu. The series is edited by Emilie van Haute, Professor of Political Science, Universite libre de Bruxelles; Ferdinand Muller-Rommel, Director of the Center for the Study of Democracy, Leuphana University; and Susan Scarrow, Chair of the Department of Political Science, University of Houston.

Rethinking Party Reform

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Rethinking Party Reform by Fabio Wolkenstein Book Summary:

The functioning of representative democracy crucially depends on political parties that mediate between citizens and the state. It is widely doubted, however, that contemporary parties can still perform this connective role. Taking seriously the ensuing challenges for representative democracy, Rethinking Party Reform advances a normative account of party reform, drawing on both democratic theory and political science scholarship on parties. Moving beyond purely descriptive or causal-analytical perspectives on party reform, the book clarifies on theoretical grounds why party reform is centrally important for the sustainability of established democracies, and what effective party reforms could look like in an age where most citizens look to parties with scepticism and distrust. In doing so, this book underlines in distinctive fashion why scholars and citizens should care about re-inventing and transforming political parties, resisting widespread tendencies of either declaring parties unreformable or theorising them out of the picture.

Endangered Guardians

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Endangered Guardians by Donald V. Weatherman Book Summary:

In this intellectual history of America's two-party system, Donald V. Weatherman grapples with the central issue confronting political parties: What role should they play within a constitutional government?: By examining three major efforts at party reform-the Progressive movement, efforts to develop a responsible party system in the 1950s and 1960s, and Democratic nominating system reforms between 1968 and 1988-Weatherman shows how we have lost sight of the founders' original intentions to create a party system that would enhance the democratic tendencies of our political system while strengthening our constitutional structure.

Party Reform

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Party Reform by William J. Crotty Book Summary:

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The Party Decides

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The Party Decides by Marty Cohen,David Karol,Hans Noel,John Zaller Book Summary:

Throughout the contest for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, politicians and voters alike worried that the outcome might depend on the preferences of unelected superdelegates. This concern threw into relief the prevailing notion that—such unusually competitive cases notwithstanding—people, rather than parties, should and do control presidential nominations. But for the past several decades, The Party Decides shows, unelected insiders in both major parties have effectively selected candidates long before citizens reached the ballot box. Tracing the evolution of presidential nominations since the 1790s, this volume demonstrates how party insiders have sought since America’s founding to control nominations as a means of getting what they want from government. Contrary to the common view that the party reforms of the 1970s gave voters more power, the authors contend that the most consequential contests remain the candidates’ fights for prominent endorsements and the support of various interest groups and state party leaders. These invisible primaries produce frontrunners long before most voters start paying attention, profoundly influencing final election outcomes and investing parties with far more nominating power than is generally recognized.

The Chinese Communist Party in Reform

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The Chinese Communist Party in Reform by Kjeld Erik Brødsgaard,Zheng Yongnian Book Summary:

Contrary to the expectations of many people, China's recent economic growth has not led to the collapse of the Chinese Communist Party. In fact, the Party has recently carried out a peaceful and orderly transition to the so-called fourth generation of leadership, has revitalised itself, and created a new, younger and better trained cadre corps. Despite this successful transformation, there continue to be many problems that the Party will need to overcome if it is to remain in power, including pressures for democratization in both urban and rural areas, widespread corruption, the emergence of new social groups, and increasing dissatisfaction among workers who seem to be losing out in the present transition process. The Chinese Communist Party in Reform explores the current state of the Chinese Communist Party and the many challenges that it faces. It considers the dynamics of development in China, the Party organization, recruitment and management, and the Party's role in society more widely. It concludes by examining the prospects for the future of the Party, including whether it will continue to be able to accommodate socio-economic changes within China and pressures from abroad, and the likely nature of its evolution. Overall, this book provides a comprehensive assessment of the internal dynamics of the Chinese Communist Party and its role in Chinese society.

China's Deep Reform

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China's Deep Reform by Lowell Dittmer,Guoli Liu Book Summary:

China's rapid and complex political and socioeconomic changes provide fertile ground for pioneering analysis, but they also present daunting theoretical and practical challenges. This reader takes up the challenge, offering the most comprehensive assessment of Chinese domestic politics available by bringing together the best recent scholarship in the field. The anthology focuses on the origin, content, and significance of the post-1989 phase of China's reform and opening to the world, commonly known in the PRC as "deep reform." This period has been unfolding in interaction with globalization, marketization, privatization, political institutionalization, as well as with financial and legal changes. Deep reform includes new policy initiatives that have penetrated political, legal, economic, and social sectors untouched by previous initiatives as reformers have been forced to deal with the consequences—intended and unintended—of earlier reforms. These carefully selected essays by leading scholars have been revised and updated for this text. In addition, a substantive introduction and conclusion place the articles in their broader context for readers new to the subject. With the successful transition of the leadership of the party, state, and military since 2002, the time is ripe for a comprehensive evaluation of China's deep reform as it enters a new stage. This timely reader will offer students, scholars, and policymakers invaluable insights into the dynamics of change in one of the world's emerging political and economic dynamos. Contributions by: Marc Blecher, Bruce J. Dickson, Lowell Dittmer, Joseph Fewsmith, Ting Gong, Baogang Guo, William Hurst, Cheng Li, Guoli Liu, Andrew J. Nathan, Kevin J. O'Brien, Veronica Pearson, Randall Peerenboom, Yingyi Qian, Tony Saich, Tianjian Shi, Edward S. Steinfeld, Shaoguang Wang, Lynn White, Yu-Shan Wu, and Guobin Yang

Curing the Mischiefs of Faction

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Curing the Mischiefs of Faction by Austin Ranney Book Summary:

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Democratic Party Reform in California, 1972

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Democratic Party Reform in California, 1972 by Democratic Party (Calif.). State Central Committee Book Summary:

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The Chinese State in the Era of Economic Reform

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The Chinese State in the Era of Economic Reform by Jay D. White Book Summary:

This book seeks to assess the impact of the post-Mao market-oriented reforms on the Chinese state and its relations with society and the economy. It investigates the political and social consequences of an economic strategy which aims to introduce markets into a centrally-planned socialist economy of the Soviet type and investigates what changes have actually occurred in the organisational and political character of the Chinese state, the nature and scope of political participation, the managerial relationships between state agencies and productive enterprises and the nature of Chinese social structure and social attitudes. The book is a valuable source for those who wish to understand the complex and deep-rooted causes of the tragic events in Beijing in June 1989.

Revolution, Reform and Regionalism in Southeast Asia

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Revolution, Reform and Regionalism in Southeast Asia by Ronald Bruce St John Book Summary:

Based on research carried out over the three decades, this book compares the post-war political economies of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam in the context of their individual and collective impact on contemporary efforts at regional integration. The author highlights the different paths to reform taken by the three neighbours and the effect this has had on regional plans for economic development through the ASEAN and the Greater Mekong Subregion. Through its comparative analysis of the reforms implemented by Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam over the last thirty years, the book draws attention to parallel themes of continuity and change. The author discusses how the three states have demonstrated related characteristics whilst at the same time making different modifications in order to exploit the unique strengths of their individual cultures. Contributing to the contemporary debate over the role of democratic reform in promoting economic development, the book provides a detailed account of the political economies of three states at the heart of Southeast Asia.

The Failure of China's Democratic Reforms

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The Failure of China's Democratic Reforms by Zaijun Yuan Book Summary:

In its propaganda, the Chinese Communist Party does not deny the value of “democracy”, but it insists that democracy in China can be only “socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics”. The most essential nature of such “democracy” is that it is under the single-party system and it excludes multi-party politics and competitive elections. In recent years, “Chinese democracy” has won more support because of achievements the party has made in developing economy. This raises a question: does this “efficient” authoritarian political system in China, even if it is not democratic, deserve applause because it can facilitate economic development? The party also insists that it is “democratic”. But, is the party's theory of “democracy” compatible with western democracy? Since 1998, the party has organized some political reforms, such as “direct elections” for township executives, “direct elections” for township party secretaries, township party congress reform and “deliberative democracy” experiments, while maintaining single-party politics. In the party's propaganda, some of these reforms have become party achievements in improving “socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics”. In addition to these four kinds of party-organized reforms, another “reform” originated from the grassroots, the participation of independent candidates in a few local people's congress elections. This book examines these five local political reforms. It demonstrates that the four reforms instigated and organized by the party were tightly controlled and manipulated by the party. Although some reform measures may possibly liberalize parts of China's political mechanism, it is highly unlikely that the four reforms will eventually lead to political democratization in China. In the fifth “reform”, which was motivated from outside the bureaucratic system, the party took drastic measures to repress the political participation of grassroots power. As a result, nearly all independent candidates in the local people's congress elections failed in their attempts to gain office. The prospects for this “reform” are also poor. The book argues that all five reforms have failed and that none will lead to China’s democratization in the near future. The book concludes that the party’s authoritarian regime in China is by nature anti-democratic and that so-called “socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics” is not democratic.

Party Ballots, Reform, and the Transformation of America's Electoral System

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Party Ballots, Reform, and the Transformation of America's Electoral System by Erik J. Engstrom,Samuel Kernell Book Summary:

This book explores the fascinating and puzzling world of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American elections. It examines the strategic behavior of nineteenth-century party politicians and shows how their search for electoral victory led them to invent a number of remarkable campaign practices. Why were parties dedicated to massive voter mobilization? Why did presidential nominees wage front-porch campaigns? Why did officeholders across the country tie their electoral fortunes to the popularity of presidential candidates at the top of the ticket? Erik J. Engstrom and Samuel Kernell demonstrate that the defining features of nineteenth-century electoral politics were the product of institutions in the states that prescribed how votes were cast and how those votes were converted into political offices. Relying on a century's worth of original data, this book uncovers the forces propelling the nineteenth-century electoral system, its transformation at the end of the nineteenth century, and the implications of that transformation for modern American politics.

Partial Visions

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Partial Visions by Richard M. Merelman Book Summary:

A pathbreaking study of political culture in the United States, Britain, and Canada, Partial Visions demonstrates how popular culture—expressed through television soap operas and comedies, civics and history textbooks, magazine advertisements, and corporate publications and recruitment leaflets—subtly deflects and suppresses democratic political action. Richard Merelman argues that political messages embedded in popular culture weaken the division between public and private and between society and the individual. These “partial visions” of democracy are idealized yet inequitable, revelatory yet distorted. As a result, issues that might galvanize useful group conflict do not emerge, and the full potential for public participation in a liberal democracy remains unrealized. Britain, Canada, and the United States share a liberal political culture but differ in their historical evolution and in the structure of their institutions. Each country, Merelman suggests, has developed a distinctive popular culture that shapes public opinion and stifles political debate in nationally specific ways. Different rhetorical devices and metaphors operate in each nation, he points out; in Britain, for example, the monarchy and party system serve as symbols of political reconciliation between the individual and the collectivity. Characterizing the United States as a culture of “institutionalized individualism” and Canada as a culture of emotionally tepid group conflict, Merelman finds Britain's culture of group-based political debate the most successful in encouraging democratic participation. Drawing on symbolic anthropology, poststructuralist literary theory, and positivistic analyses of attitudes and media influence, Merelman conducts a controlled comparison of media representations, political discourse, and public opinion, using rich, complex sets of quantitative and qualitative data . He concludes that culture is not reducible to institutional interests but is intelligible as a whole structure; furthermore, culture can and sometimes does change the contours of political conflict.

Renovating the Vietnamese Communist Party

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Renovating the Vietnamese Communist Party by Lewis M. Stern Book Summary:

"The Vietnamese Communist Party has been preoccupied with renewal and reorganization for over a decade. Efforts to eliminate inefficient, ineffective and corrupt cadre; recruit younger, skilled and better educated members; improve basic party chapter-level leadership and organization; and select and train a generation of party secretaries at all levels have limped along since the late 1970s." "This book traces the evolution of the reforms of the party organization under Nguyen Van Linh. Under his leadership party reform gained a new lease on life. However, by 1988 Linh was increasingly stymied by the closing of ranks of party conservatives, the glacial speed with which the party organization responded to reform initiatives, and the extent to which ineffective leadership, poor organizing habits and venality had saturated the core of the party."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Party intellectuals' demands for reform in contemporary China

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Party intellectuals' demands for reform in contemporary China by N.A Book Summary:

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Campaign Finance Reform and the Future of the Democratic Party

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Campaign Finance Reform and the Future of the Democratic Party by Jerrold E. Schneider Book Summary:

This volume is a comprehensive collection of critical essays on The Taming of the Shrew, and includes extensive discussions of the play's various printed versions and its theatrical productions. Aspinall has included only those essays that offer the most influential and controversial arguments surrounding the play. The issues discussed include gender, authority, female autonomy and unruliness, courtship and marriage, language and speech, and performance and theatricality.

Reform!

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Reform! by National Reform Party (Ghana) Book Summary:

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The Challenge of Institutional Reform in Mexico

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The Challenge of Institutional Reform in Mexico by Professor of Political Science Riordan Roett Book Summary:

"Leading group of Mexican and US specialists assesses changes occurring in Mexican social and political institutions, as well as the policy reforms of the Salinas administration. Examines the Catholic Church, civil-military relations, and electoral reform"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 57.

Political Parties

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Political Parties by William Cross Book Summary:

Political parties are at the centre of Canadian democracy. They choose our prime ministers, premiers, and candidates for public office; they decide which policy issues are considered in the provincial and federal legislatures; they dominate our election campaigns. As a result, a democracy that is participatory, responsive, and inclusive can only be achieved if Canadian political parties share these values and operate in a manner respecting them. In a concise and accessible manner, this book delves into the history, structure, mechanisms, and roles of Canada's political parties, and assesses the degree to which Canadians today can rely on political parties as vehicles for grassroots participation.

The Chinese Communist Party as Organizational Emperor

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The Chinese Communist Party as Organizational Emperor by Zheng Yongnian Book Summary:

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is one of the largest and most powerful political organizations, and China’s rapid rise has allowed CCP to extend its influence throughout the globe. This book explores the CCP transformation as a form of "organizational emperor", and its ability to survive potential democracy.

Political Authority and Party Secretaries in Poland, 1975-1986

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Political Authority and Party Secretaries in Poland, 1975-1986 by Paul G. Lewis,Paul Geoffrey Lewis Book Summary:

This book deals with the changing position and role of the Polish United Workers' Party and its apparatus between 1975 and 1986. Their role and the way they perform it is seen as a major determinant of the nature of party leadership and, more generally, of the strength of political authority in communist states.

Gender Quotas, Parity Reform, and Political Parties in France

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Gender Quotas, Parity Reform, and Political Parties in France by Katherine A. R. Opello Book Summary:

How did parity replace gender quotas in France as the preferred way to achieve greater representation for women in elected office? Why have these gender-based measures been embraced by some parties and not others? And, why do parties sometimes fail to implement quotas and parity? Gender Quotas, Parity Reform, and Political Parties in France considers this transition from quotas to parity, providing a history of French women's rights and the French electoral process, as well as an examination of the roles of the Socialist and Gaullist political parties.

The Election After Reform

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The Election After Reform by Michael J. Malbin Book Summary:

These groundbreaking studies, rich with data, include chapters on political parties, '527' committees and interest groups, television ads, the 'ground war, ' Congressional politics, and presidential campaigns. A must-read for its insightful and nuanced assessments of the effects of reform

Reform Rule in Czechoslovakia

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Reform Rule in Czechoslovakia by Galia Golan Book Summary:

This book studies in detail the reform regime of Alexander Dubcek from the assumption of power in the Party by reform-minded communists in January 1968 until Gustav Husik replaced Dubcek as First Secretary. The reform regime survived only eight months of genuine rule but it persisted for a further eight months after the Soviet invasion in an agonizing struggle for survival. One of the most impressive but little-known developments in the era of reform rule was the attempt by the Czechoslovaks to perpetuate the 'Prague Spring', to salvage something of the programme for reform, and maintain public faith in the face of Soviet occupation. Dr Golan's book (a sequel to The Czechoslovak Reform Movement, Cambridge 1971) examines the nature and effects of reform rule in nearly every area of society: the economy, the trade unions and social organizations, national and religious minorities, the cultural world, the Party, government, the legal and security systems, Slovakia, and the field of foreign Policy.

Parties and Leaders in the Postreform House

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Parties and Leaders in the Postreform House by David W. Rohde Book Summary:

Since the Second World War, congressional parties have been characterized as declining in strength and influence. Research has generally attributed this decline to policy conflicts within parties, to growing electoral independence of members, and to the impact of the congressional reforms of the 1970s. Yet the 1980s witnessed a strong resurgence of parties and party leadership—especially in the House of Representatives. Offering a concise and compelling explanation of the causes of this resurgence, David W. Rohde argues that a realignment of electoral forces led to a reduction of sectional divisions within the parties—particularly between the northern and southern Democrats—and to increased divergence between the parties on many important issues. He challenges previous findings by asserting that congressional reform contributed to, rather than restrained, the increase of partisanship. Among the Democrats, reforms siphoned power away from conservative and autocratic committee chairs and put control of those committees in the hands of Democratic committee caucuses, strengthening party leaders and making both party and committee leaders responsible to rank-and-file Democrats. Electoral changes increased the homogeneity of House Democrats while institutional reforms reduced the influence of dissident members on a consensus in the majority party. Rohde's accessible analysis provides a detailed discussion of the goals of the congressional reformers, the increased consensus among Democrats and its reinforcement by their caucus, the Democratic leadership's use of expanded powers to shape the legislative agenda, and the responses of House Republicans. He also addresses the changes in the relationship between the House majority and the president during the Carter and Reagan administrations and analyzes the legislative consequences of the partisan resurgence. A readable, systematic synthesis of the many complex factors that fueled the recent resurgence of partisanship, Parties and Leaders in the Postreform House is ideal for course use.

Rebuilding Canadian Party Politics

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Rebuilding Canadian Party Politics by R. Kenneth Carty,Lisa Young,William Paul Cross Book Summary:

Canadian party politics collapsed in the early 1990s. This book is about that collapse, about the end of a party system, with a unique pattern of party organization and competition, that had governed Canada's national politics for several decades, and about the ongoing struggle to build its successor. Rebuilding Canadian Party Politics discusses the breakdown of the old party system, the emergence of the Reform Party and the Bloc Québécois, and the fate of the Conservative and New Democratic Parties. It focuses on the internal workings of parties in this new era, examining the role of professionals, new technologies, and local activists. To understand the ambiguities of our current party system, the authors attended local and national party meetings, nomination and leadership meetings, and campaign kick-off rallies. They visited local campaign offices to observe the parties' grassroots operations and conducted interviews with senior party officials, pollsters, media and advertising specialists, and leader-tour directors. Written in a lively and accessible style, this book will interest students of party politics and Canadian political history, as well as general readers eager to make sense of the changes reshaping national politics today.

Cracks in the Monolith

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Cracks in the Monolith by James R. Millar Book Summary:

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Political Reform in Post-Mao China

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Political Reform in Post-Mao China by Barrett L. McCormick Book Summary:

Since the death of Mao the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party has embarked on a series of ambitious political reforms. In his new book, Barrett McCormick develops a theory of Leninist states to explore the prospect for these reforms. He finds that, while significant economic and political gains have been made for the Chinese people, the basic contours of the state remain unchanged; and as events in June 1989 clearly showed, reform has not diminished the state's ability to impose its perogatives on society. Drawing on Weber's political sociology, McCormick argues that patronage and corruption are integral aspects of Leninist rulership. Reformers have attempted to promote democracy and law and to fight corruption, but when they attempt to implement their programs through traditional hierarchical Leninist institutions, lower-level cadres have been able to utilize patronage networks to blunt the impact of reform and protect their personal agenda. In his case studies of the legal system, the people's congress, and party rectification, McCormick points up these obstacles to progressive change and assesses the extent to which reformers' goals have been realized. He shows that, despite the often radical nature of the reform movements, the principal dimensions of the Leninist system--one party rule, state domination of the economy, a confining ideology--remain largely intact. These findings will be of interest to China specialists as well as students of comparative communism and Leninist states. Since the death of Mao the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party has embarked on a series of ambitious political reforms. In his new book, Barrett McCormick develops a theory of Leninist states to explore the prospect for these reforms. He finds that, while significant economic and political gains have been made for the Chinese people, the basic contours of the state remain unchanged; and as events in June 1989 clearly showed, reform has not diminished the state's ability to impose its perogatives on society. Drawing on Weber's political sociology, McCormick argues that patronage and corruption are integral aspects of Leninist rulership. Reformers have attempted to promote democracy and law and to fight corruption, but when they attempt to implement their programs through traditional hierarchical Leninist institutions, lower-level cadres have been able to utilize patronage networks to blunt the impact of reform and protect their personal agenda. In his case studies of the legal system, the people's congress, and party rectification, McCormick points up these obstacles to progressive change and assesses the extent to which reformers' goals have been realized. He shows that, despite the often radical nature of the reform movements, the principal dimensions of the Leninist system--one party rule, state domination of the economy, a confining ideology--remain largely intact. These findings will be of interest to China specialists as well as students of comparative communism and Leninist states.

China's Enterprise Reform

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China's Enterprise Reform by You Ji Book Summary:

China's basic work units, collectively known as the danwei system, have undergone significant reform, particularly since 1984. The author examines how this system operates and how reform is generating change in the party at grassroots level. The author demonstrates how China's post-Mao reforms have produced a quiet revolution from below as the process of political and economic liberalization has accelerated. This book presents new research findings that will be invaluable to those wishing to understand the nature of change in China.

Life After Reform

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Life After Reform by Michael J. Malbin Book Summary:

Life After Reform is the first serious and dispassionate book about how politics will change under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. It will quickly be seen as an essential tool for understanding the 2004 election. But its sophisticated and original framework for understanding change will also make it important well beyond a specific election, and long after reform debates have shifted to new questions. Visit our website for sample chapters!

Presidential Selection

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Presidential Selection by James W. Ceaser Book Summary:

Examining the development of the process of presidential selection from the founding of the republic to the present day, James Ceaser contends that many of the major purposes of the selection system as it was formerly understood have been ignored by current reformers and modern scholars. In an attempt to reverse this trend, Professor Ceaser discusses the theories of selection offered by leading American statesmen from the Founders and Thomas Jefferson to Martin Van Buren and Woodrow Wilson. From these theories he identifies a set of criteria for a sound selection system that he then uses to analyze and evaluate the recent changes in the selection process. Five normative functions of a presidential selection system comprise the author's criteria: it should minimize the harmful effects of ambitious contenders for the office, promote responsible executive leadership and power, help secure an able president, ensure a legitimate accession, and provide for an appropriate amount of choice and change. Professor Ceaser finds that the present system is characterized by weak parties and candidate-centered campaigns that lead to the problems of "image" politics and demagogic leadership appeals. He therefore argues for a more republican selection system in which political parties would be strengthened to serve as a restraining force on popular authority, public opinion, and individual aspirations for executive power.

A Natural Experiment on Electoral Law Reform

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A Natural Experiment on Electoral Law Reform by Daniela Giannetti,Bernard Grofman Book Summary:

In the early 1990s, major electoral reforms took place in both Italy and Japan; each replaced a form of “proportional representation” (in which voters cast a ballot for a party list) with a “mixed member” system (in which voters cast ballots for individual candidates and party lists). The reforms were enacted by political elites in the context of divisions within the dominant party, changing patterns of party support, and party splits, in efforts to retain power while responding to charges of corruption, clientelism, and lack of accountability. The experiences of both countries provide a laboratory in which to investigate the effects and implications of the reforms, and, more broadly to analyze voter behavior in the context of institutional change. The introduction provides an overview of post-WWII politics and electoral reform in Italy and Japan. In each of the next four chapters, specialists in Italian and Japanese electoral politics are teamed up to review data both before and after the reforms. Within this comparative framework, the authors explore such topics as changes in party competition, candidate selection mechanisms, and intra-party politics. The concluding chapter considers the longer-term consequences—both anticipated and unanticipated—of the reforms; despite superficially similar conditions, the effects in the two countries were dramatically different: in Japan, the new system has taken hold, with minor modifications, while in Italy, there was a reversion to a proportional representation system. As the essays in this volume demonstrate, to understand why similar reforms had such different effects in the two countries we must examine how electoral systems are embedded in broader institutional and social arrangements, and at the complex interplay of political geography, political history, and the rational calculations of political actors.