Tianjian Shi shows how cultural norms affect political attitudes and behavior through two causal pathways, one at the individual level and one at the community level. Focusing on two key norms – definition of self-interest and orientation to authority – he tests the theory with multiple surveys conducted in mainland China and Taiwan. Shi employs multi-level statistical analysis to show how, in these two very different political systems, similar norms exert similar kinds of influence on political trust, understanding of democracy, forms of political participation, and tolerance for protest. The approach helps to explain the resilience of authoritarian politics in China and the dissatisfaction of many Taiwan residents with democratic institutions. Aiming to place the study of political culture on a new theoretical and methodological foundation, Shi argues that a truly comparative social science must understand how culturally embedded norms influence decision making.
Citation: Shi, Tianjian. The Cultural Logic of Politics in Mainland China and Taiwan. Cambridge University Press, 2014.
Why Parties?: A Second Look
Since its first appearance fifteen years ago, “Why Parties?” has been essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the nature of American political parties, but in the interim, the party system has undergone some radical changes. In this landmark book, now rewritten for the new millennium, John H. Aldrich goes beyond the clamor of arguments over whether American political parties are in resurgence or decline and undertakes a wholesale reexamination of the foundations of the American party system. Surveying critical episodes in the development of American political parties – from their formation in the 1790s to the Civil War – Aldrich shows how they address three fundamental problems of democracy: how to regulate the number of people seeking public office, how to mobilize voters, and how to achieve and maintain the majorities needed to accomplish goals once in office. Aldrich brings this innovative account up to the present by looking at the profound changes in the character of political parties since World War II, especially in light of ongoing contemporary transformations, including the rise of the Republican Party in the South, and what those changes accomplish, such as the Affordable Care Act. Finally, “Why Parties?” offers a fuller consideration of party systems in general, especially the two-party system in the United States, and explains why it is necessary for effective democracy.
Citation: Aldrich, John H. Why Parties?: a second look. University of Chicago Press, 2011.