Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Race and Authority in Urban Politics

Race and Authority in Urban Politics

J. DAVID GREENSTONE
PAUL E. PETERSON
Copyright Date: 1973
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 384
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7758/9781610446365
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Race and Authority in Urban Politics
    Book Description:

    What really happened when citizens were asked to participate in their community's poverty programs? In this revealing new book, the authors provide an answer to this question through a systematic empirical analysis of a single public policy issue-citizen participation in the Community Action Program of the Johnson Administration's "War on Poverty." Beginning with a brief case study description and analysis of the politics of community action in each of America's five largest cities-New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Philadelphia-the authors move on to a fascinating examination of race and authority structures in our urban life.

    In a series of lively chapters, Professors Greenstone and Peterson show how the coalitions that formed around the community action question developed not out of electoral or organizational interests alone, but were strongly influenced by our conceptions of the nature of authority in America. They discuss the factors that affected the development of the action program and they note that democratic elections of low-income representatives, however much preferred by democratic reformers, were an ineffective way of representing the interests of the poor.

    The book stresses the way in which both machine and reform structures affected the ability of minority groups to organize effectively and to form alliances in urban politics. It considers the wide-ranging critiques made of the Community Action Program by conservative, liberal, and radical analysts and finds that all of them fail to appreciate the significance and intensity of the racial cleavage in American politics.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-636-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. INTRODUCTION: PARTICIPATION IN THE WAR ON POVERTY
    (pp. 1-16)

    Quietly, perhaps unintentionally, Lyndon johnson’s presidency inaugurated at least two fundamental changes in American politics. In one change, johnson’s bitterly divisive Vietnam ventures provoked the first sustained, widespread challenge to the assumptions of American military and foreign policy which had prevailed since the 1940s. This book focuses on one episode of a second change, a rejection of certain guiding assumptions in domestic politics that first emerged in the 1930s. In time, this second assault on accepted political formulas would raise questions of political conscience, civil liberties, executive prerogative, racial comity, and technological and corporate impact on the natural environment.

    As...

  5. Part I: A Comparative Approach to the Politics of Community Action

    • CHAPTER 1: COMMUNITY ACTION POLITICS IN FIVE CITIES: THE LIMITS OF CASE-STUDY ANALYSIS
      (pp. 19-50)

      Community participation varied among the five cities. Chicago had the least participation, Philadelphia and Los Angeles had significantly more, but Detroit and particularly New York were the cities whose Community Action Program (CAP) could be properly labeled a participatory program. In each city the character of the program reflected many characteristics of that city’s politics which have been identified by others in previous research. Within the framework of a case-study analysis, each city’s program seems to be fairly easily explained and interpreted. Yet when the factors identified as critical in the case studies are applied generally to all cities, they...

    • CHAPTER 2: ROLE INTERESTS AND COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS
      (pp. 51-68)

      The case studies in Chapter I relied on factors too idiosyncratic to account persuasively for the observed inter-city variation in community participation. The problem, it seems, lay in the differential meaning of apparently comparable political elements in the five cities. In this chapter we shall seek to identify behaviors that are sufficiently regular, recurrent, and similarly significant among residents of all five communities, so that valid inter-city comparisons can become possible. Regular behaviors that have similar meaning for members of the community are usually patterned by their similar orientations and expectations. We shall call such patterned behaviors “social roles.” These...

  6. Part II: Interests, Ideologies, and Participation

    • CHAPTER 3: CLASS AND RACIAL INTERESTS IN THE POLITICS OF COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION
      (pp. 71-98)

      Racial role interests and ideologies directly shaped the struggle over community participation. Despite the confusion among administrators and legislators in Washington about the meaning and political significance of “maximum feasible participation,” a diverse array of political actors in many cities quickly formed two coalitions with opposing interpretations of the phrase. Given the stability of the cities’ social and political structures during this period, the rapidity with which these actors decided on their preferences, and then acted to implement them, suggests the usefulness of the latent-manifest interest approach in explaining the alliances that were formed. From this perspective, black activists in...

    • CHAPTER 4: REGIME INTERESTS AND IDEOLOGIES: PARTICIPATION AND THE STRUCTURE OF AUTHORITY
      (pp. 99-124)

      The conflict over community participation presents an obvious anomaly: it sharply increased the manifest racial interests of the black community, but provoked little direct opposition from White Power groups and almost no class-based conflict of any sort. Instead, the war on poverty pitted the black activists against big-city mayors and other urban political leaders, who were primarily concerned about the character of political authority. Overtly, the immediate issue was to determine who would control local public offices. Most mayors were determined to maintain their individual authority as elected public officials, resenting accusations that they did not represent the local community....

    • CHAPTER 5: IDEOLOGIES VERSUS ELECTORAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL INTERESTS
      (pp. 125-162)

      Although the Progressive Conservative ideology gave no clear guidance on the participation issue, Liberal Pragmatism opposed community participation, while Community Conservationism favored it. This chapter will show how these ideological differences substantially affected the development of the proparticipatory and anti participatory coalitions which emerged in our five cities. Such an interpretation contradicts a dominant view in the urban politics literature, which argues that political leaders take positions on policy questions primarily in response to the dictates of their electoral or organizational interests. At times, this widely accepted view is stated so generally that it becomes simply a post hoc rationalization...

  7. Part III: Implementing Participation in Community Action Programs

    • CHAPTER 6: REPRESENTATION OF THE POOR IN COMMUNITY ACTION
      (pp. 165-200)

      Whether they were involved for ideological, or more narrowly electoral and organizational, reasons, participants in the community action controversy formed coalitions that determined the policies that were eventually settled upon in each city. The conflict between the competing sides ended in one of a very limited number of ways. Either the proparticipatory coalition won and subsequently shaped the Community Action Program (CAP); or, having influenced policies marginally, it lost in all important respects; or, finally, it was severely defeated by the antiparticipatory coalition, which then imposed an unequivocally antiparticipatory program. In effect, each city had apolicy settlement, which determined...

    • CHAPTER 7: BUREAUCRATIC INFLUENCE ON PARTICIPATION IN COMMUNITY ACTION
      (pp. 201-226)

      The policy settlement, by establishing a set of shared expectations among important political actors, and by institutionalizing formal arrangements for the representation of the poor, accounted for most of the variation in community participation among the five cities. This correlation between the policy settlement and participation, as presented in Table 7-1, is so high that, except for the small number of cases, statisticians might attribute the unexplained variance to random error. Yet, New York had a more participatory program than Detroit, even though the policy settlement in the two cities was the same. Moreover, Philadelphia had a less participatory program...

  8. Part IV: Political Structures, Policy-Making Processes, and Public Policy

    • CHAPTER 8: POLITICAL STRUCTURES: CITIZEN PREFERENCES, POLITICAL ORGANIZATION, AND PUBLIC POLICY
      (pp. 229-260)

      In Chapters 4 and 5 we argued that the ideology first articulated by nineteenth-century machine politicians and reformers still affected political commitments of individuals and groups active in the struggle over community participation. In Chapter 7 we showed the impact of urban reform on bureaucratic behavior. This chapter turns to another ramification of the machine-reform conflict, namely, its pervasive effects on the types of political groups actively influencing each city’s policy settlement. Perhaps because it was so pervasive, this effect was hardly direct. Although the policy settlement was very antiparticipatory in the preeminently machine city of Chicago, the reform cities...

    • CHAPTER 9: POLICY-MAKING PROCESSES: CONFLICT, CONSENSUS, AND REGIME TRANSFORMATION
      (pp. 261-294)

      Although the character of the Community Action Program (CAP) policy settlement had a very high correlation with the distribution of resources in our five cities, the limited number of cases suggests the possibility of a spurious relationship. The actual settlement might well be the result of anyone of countless factors not explicitly considered, e.g., the mayor’s control over his administrative subordinates, the character of the city’s economy, or the geographic source and the timing of black migration to the city. Of course, Chapter 8 has identified a number of specific activities taken by Progressive Conservative and Community Conservationist reformers in...

    • CHAPTER 10: A POLICY ANALYSIS: RACE, POLITICS, AND COMMUNITY CONTROL
      (pp. 295-316)

      Policy analysis is typically written for those in power. We offer here a public policy analysis of participation in Community Action Programs (CAPs) from the perspective of those relatively disadvantaged groups seeking political power. Normatively, we are not primarily concerned here with the stabilization of American democracy, which in fact has successfully withstood many seemingly formidable challenges over the past century. Nor do we try to devise the politically most advantageous or feasible policy strategies for those presently in official positions-unless, of course, they should seek to share power with emerging groups, as Sen. Robert Wagner of New York did...

  9. APPENDIX A: STABILITY, CONFLICT, AND REGIME INTERESTS
    (pp. 317-324)
  10. APPENDIX B: METHODOLOGICAL NOTE ON THE INDEX OF LOCALISM
    (pp. 325-326)
  11. NOTES
    (pp. 327-348)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 349-364)