Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for citizen involvement advocates, 28 Jun 2011
This review is from: Stealth Democracy: Americans' Beliefs About How Government Should Work (Cambridge Studies in Public Opinion and Political Psychology) (Paperback)
It is astonishing that I am the first to review this work. It is a excellent piece of research. The authors address a highly overlooked topic - how would the mode of government look like if the public themselves were given voice. That approach is massively underrepresented in political science. Luckily, there is a small strand of research following up on stealth democracy, also in Europe, and it seems that Europe and U.S. (where the empirical data stems from) are not too dissimilar.

I am impressed by the range of literature used. The empirical data are also rich enough to make it credible. The authors sometimes draw conclusions that are sometimes too strongly stated, but that is largely a matter of style and "poetical licence". It works in this case - it makes it possible for further studies to delimit their ambitious claims.

The book is filled with fine observations of the political psychology of the American people - in particular I liked how they explore the public's distaste for conflict, their reasons for doing so, and the implications for designing tomorrow's society.

In particular I recommend this book to those who are passionate about stronger versions of democracy - it may help to make more realistic models. A superficial read may give the impression that this is a book from some right-wing intellectuals that advocate some authoritative government, but that is far from the case.

Hibbing and Theiss-Morse also have a pleasant writing style - perhaps too colloquial for some academic readers, though.

This is surely a five star read in 2011- even if some of their empirical data are from the late 90'ies.
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