Educated by Initiative: The Effects of Direct Democracy on Citizens and Political Organizations in the American States

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University of Michigan Press, Nov 12, 2009 - Political Science - 252 pages
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"This body of research not only passes academic muster but is the best guidepost in existence for activists who are trying to use the ballot initiative process for larger policy and political objectives."
--Kristina Wilfore, Executive Director, Ballot Initiative Strategy Center and Foundation

Educated by Initiative moves beyond previous evaluations of public policy to emphasize the educational importance of the initiative process itself. Since a majority of ballots ultimately fail or get overturned by the courts, Smith and Tolbert suggest that the educational consequences of initiative voting may be more important than the outcomes of the ballots themselves. The result is a fascinating and thoroughly-researched book about how direct democracy teaches citizens about politics, voting, civic engagement and the influence of special interests and political parties. Designed to be accessible to anyone interested in the future of American democracy, the book includes boxes (titled "What Matters") that succinctly summarize the authors' data into easily readable analyses.



Daniel A. Smith is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida.



Caroline J. Tolbert is Associate Professor of Political Science at Kent State University.


 

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Contents

Instrumental and Educative Justications of Direct Democracy
1
Voting
31
Civic Engagement
53
Confidence in Government
72
5 The Education of Special Interests
87
6 The Education of Political Parties
112
7 The Educative Possibilities and Limitations of Citizen Lawmaking
136
Appendix
149
Notes
165
References
201
Index
219
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About the author (2009)

Assistant Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Huron University College, Ontario, Canada.

Caroline Tolbert is Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa, where she regularly teaches the introductory American government course and was awarded the Collegiate Scholar Award for excellence in teaching and research. Her research explores political behavior, elections, American state politics, and the Internet and politics. Tolbert is coauthor of Digital Citizenship: The Internet Society and Participation; Why Iowa? How Caucuses and Sequential Elections Improve the Presidential Nominating Process; and Virtual Inequality: Beyond the Digital Divide. Digital Citizenship was ranked one of 20 best-selling titles in the social sciences by the American Library Association in 2007. Her latest coauthored scholarly book is Digital Cities: The Internet and the Geography of Opportunity. She is President of the State Politics and Policy Section of the American Political Science Association.

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