The Unheavenly Chorus: Unequal Political Voice and the Broken Promise of American Democracy

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Princeton University Press, 2012 - Political Science - 693 pages

"The Unheavenly Chorus is classic Schlozman, Verba, and Brady: a timely, deeply researched examination of participatory inequalities in American civic life. Ranging broadly from interest groups to voting to protests and social movements, the authors use their combined decades of research and reflection to paint a powerful and revealing picture of the landscape of citizen involvement in politics--and the stark tilt of that landscape toward those at the top of the economic ladder. Essential reading."--Jacob S. Hacker, coauthor of Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer--and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class

"The Unheavenly Chorus is the definitive study of participatory inequality in America. Marshaling prodigious evidence, the authors show how money not only buys influence directly but also affects associations that are supposed to be democratic antidotes to concentrated wealth. A monumental achievement of careful scholarship, this book offers real knowledge of how politics actually operates."--Robert Kuttner, coeditor, The American Prospect

"Here, finally, is the analysis we've been waiting for. With extraordinary rigor and utmost care, three of the nation's most eminent political scientists show beyond a doubt how participation in American politics is inextricably linked to income and education. The most affluent and best-educated citizens are consistently overrepresented, which threatens the core democratic principle of equal responsiveness to all. This is a masterful work, certain to be a classic."--Robert Reich, University of California, Berkeley

"This book is one of a kind. It represents a major statement about the current state of American democracy, political participation, social class, and social inequality. The Unheavenly Chorus gives overwhelming evidence that something is wrong with our political system and needs to be fixed. I believe this is one of the most important books of the decade."--Frank R. Baumgartner, coauthor of Agendas and Instability in American Politics

"What the authors have done here is to write a book about both majoritarian and pluralist democracy--and the shortcomings of each. They forcefully convey that our democracy is ill and that the statistics they've assembled are not abstractions but represent inequality of opportunity in everyday life. In its own dignified and scholarly way, The Unheavenly Chorus voices outrage."--Jeffrey M. Berry, coeditor of The Oxford Handbook of American Political Parties and Interest Groups

"The Unheavenly Chorus is a tour de force. It attacks a timely yet timeless set of issues that are critical to understanding the extent of--and possibilities for--democratic governance and political equality. Instead of a heavenly chorus, the authors find a cacophony of deep, enduring, and cumulative inequalities of political voice."--Dara Z. Strolovitch, author of Affirmative Advocacy: Race, Class, and Gender in Interest Group Politics


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Thinking about Inequality and Political Voice
Inequality of Political Voice and Individual Participation
Inequality of Political Voice and Organized Interest Activity
Can We Change the Accent of the Unheavenly Chorus?

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About the author (2012)

Kay Lehman Schlozman is the J. Joseph Moakley Endowed Professor of Political Science at Boston College. Sidney Verba is the Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor Emeritus and Research Professor of Government at Harvard University. Henry E. Brady is Dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy and Class of 1941 Monroe Deutsch Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

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