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Alfred de Grazia:


The Process of Government

Alfred de Grazia

Department of Public Law and Government

Columbia University

New York City


Government 103-104 (1951-1952) treats of these several subjects:

First Part, Winter Session: The Elements and Organization of Political Behavior

I. Political Values and Interests

II. Mobilization of Political Forces

Second Part, Spring Session: The Contest to Determine Policy

III. Formal Representation of Values

IV. Engineering of Favorable Policies

V. Effects of the Political Process on Policies


*It is understood that students may be registered for only one of the session.

On The Nature Of The Course

Each of the titles in the outline to follow constitutes the subject of a week of the course. A glance at the general organization of the course, reproduced above, and at the titles of the outline below will reveal the pattern of progression. In terms of method, the first semester is used to describe and order the basic concepts and variables of political behavior, to judge their incidence and relationships, and manner in which these institutionalized interest elements determine (and are restrained by ) the structures and devices of formal representation. The problem of representation, that is, may be imagined as the "long-term" struggle to satisfy interests. In addition, a "short-term" struggle for particular advantage in the shaping of policies exist. The uses of propaganda, money, disciplined organization, partisan maneuver, and other pressure activities typify the tactics of political interests within the envelope of representative institutions. Finally, since the political process has shaped the final character of public policy, it may be determined whether the political process contributes to or detracts from rational policy (taken as the production of intended effects).

On Readings

The student may wish to plan his own reading program for the course. To this end, he is welcome to consult with the instructor, to use the list that follows, to pursue a course of readings by was of the titles suggested in the various bibliographies contained in the cited works, and to look into studies that will be recommended in the class sessions.

Among the readings that might well constitute the program for some students would be the following items:

1. Item useful in both semesters of Government 103-104: V.O. Key, Politics, parties, and Pressure Groups (or similar works by Merriam and Gosnell, McKean, Sait, Odegard and Helms, Bone, etc.);

Graham Wallas, Human Nature in Politics;

H. D. Lasswell, Politics: Who Gets What, When, How;

H. D. Lasswell and A. Kaplan, Power and Society;

David Truman, The Governmental Process;

Roberto Michels, First Lectures in Political Sociology; and

B. Berelson and M. Janowitz, Reader in Public Opinion and Communication.

2. Item primarily useful in the first semester's work:

John Dewey, The Public and Its Problems;

Sebastian de Grazia, The Political Community;

Paul Lazarsfeld et al., The People's Choice;

Robin Williams, Jr., American Society (esp. Chap. V);

Mary P. Follectt, The New State;

Lindsay Rogers, The Pollsters; and

A. W. Gouldner, ed., Studies in Leadership.

3. Item primarily useful in the second semester's work:

Alfred de Grazia, Public and Republic;

T. V. Smith, The Legislative Way of Life;

Paul Appleby, Policy and Administration;

Karl Mannheim, Freedom, Power, and Democratic Planning;

and one among Morton Grodzins, Americans Betrayed,

Stephen K. Bailey, Congress Makes a Law, Hearings before the House Select Committee on Lobbying Activities, Hs. of Rep., 8lst Cong., 2nd Sess., 1950,

David Hulburd, This Happened in Pasadena,

E. E. Schattschneider, Politics, Pressure and the Tariff, and

Edward C. Banfield, Government Project.

On Term Papers

Each participant in the course will write a paper on the validity of a factual proposition discussed in the course lectures or readings, using in part at least techniques involving field study or primary library sources. If one so desires, he may postulate a moral goal and study the conditions under which the goal may be attained by political action, again using techniques involving field study or primary library sources. In both cases, a page-length synopsis and preliminary design of the study will be submitted to the instructor within a month of the inauguration of the course.

Outline of Study Topics

I. Political Values and Interests

The analysis of the basic social and economic factors that shape political goals and channel political behavior.

1. Personality and Politics

The origins of political behavior in personal history and the effects on political behavior of different character-type; the relation of motives to action

2. Ecology of Political Activity

The distribution of politically-occupied persons in a society; type types of political activity; factors affecting the proportion of active persons in a society.

3. The Political Community

The common political experience of men, their shared goals, and the various efforts - ethically and objectively - to "find" the community.

4. Social Specialization and Political Interests

Social separatism in the community: its origins in the division of labor and territorial localism, and its impact on the political personality and the political community.

5. Ideologies

The major fixed beliefs found in a community, their origins, their contents, their generality, and their effects on political behavior; consensus.

6. Public Opinion

The development of specific attitudes from the interaction of issues, ideologies, and institutions; the role of such attitudes in giving direction to the political process.

7. Social Strata and Elites

The division of the community into prestige classes and its effects on personality, community ties, and social separatism; the relation of the power pyramid to the distribution of other goods.

8. Political Mobility

The contribution of the political process to high social mobility; the lack of class character among the politically active.

II. Mobilization of Political Forces

The organization of political interests for participation in the political process.

1. Political Leadership

The origins and functions of political leadership; leader-follower relationships.

2. Influence Network of the Great Society

The informal centers of political decision and their relationships; unorganized and informal political communications channels; cliques, cartels, opinion groups, electors, political associates, cronies.

3. The Media of Communication

The distribution, ownership, control, and political role of Press, radio, and film.

4. The Organization of Pressure Groups

The varieties of interest groups and their internal government; patterns of overlapping involvements.

5. Political Party Organization

The machinery of a political party; party aims as reflected in party structure; effects of party legal position upon party organization.

6. Oligarchy in Organizations

Group and party elites; attempts to counterbalance oligarchic tendencies; schisms and revolts; assessment of the extent of oligarchic rule.

III. Formal Representation of Values

The incorporation of political interests and values in the structure and operations of government.

1. Representative Government

The complicated and disputed origins of representative government, the various roles ascribed to it by different writers, and the extent to which any form of representative government may be said to influence continuously the character of a society.

2. Territorial Representation

Localism, territorial apportionment, federalism; federalism; devices (formal and informal) for the disproportionate representation of interests that arise from ecology, land ownership, and the local community.

3. Representation of Individuals

The growth of individualism; the isolated person as the basis of representation; the increased use of the majority principle; attempts to build representative government around freely interacting and nonbureaucratic associations.

4. Pluralism and Interest Representation

Nonterritorial interests; gilds; professional associations and self-governing economic and social fractions; conditions underlying the pluralist development; the competition for special authority, and the various devices used to coordinate interest representatives and general public officers.

5. The Representative Character of Parties

The party as self-interest and clearing house for other individuals and groups; the party as the government; theories postulating the party as identical with government or as identical with special interests.

IV. Engineering of Favorable Policies

The short-term struggle of set public policy, given a certain representative structure.

1. Propaganda

The manipulation of symbols of change the opinions of elites and the general population; the control of media as a necessary condition; peculiarities of the political audience; analysis of the effects of propaganda.

2. Money in Politics

The sources of political financing and the method of using money to obtain political influence.

3. Organizational Maneuver

The maximizing of group and organization support for policies; the tactics of organization politics; the political campaign.

4. Lobbying Tactics

Involving the individual politician, administrator, and cliques or committees of the government in support of policy proposals.

5. Parliamentary Maneuver

The corporate character of legislatures; oligarchy in legislatures; relation of rules of procedure to informal influence; bargaining, and compromise; summation of the effects of the political process on the behavior of representative.

V. Effects of the Political Process on Policies

The extent to which the output of the governing process reflects accurately the input of political motives.

1. Rationality in Policy Formation

The fate of conscious attempts to rationalize the legislative process so as to make it representative of selected interests and values and productive of effects in accord with them.

2. Bureaucratic Reformulations

Typical bureaucratic responses to superordinate directives and to external forces of groups and opinion; the applicability and effects of directives under stress of behavioral principles.

3. Politics and Intended Effects

The political significance of typical gaps between the intended and actual results of purposive behavior; politics as the conditioner of plans; political science and rational policy.

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