Comparative Civic Culture

The quest for a theoretical framework for understanding urban policy-making has been a recurring focus of research into local governments. Civic culture is a means for understanding how municipal policy-makers weigh the interests of different groups, govern the local community, frame local goals, engage in decision-making, and ultimately select and implement public policies. While it seems that culture ‘matters’ in local policy making, how to measure culture in a valid and replicable fashion presents a significant challenge which the authors address in this book. They present their findings of a large multi-city research project to explore the nature of civic culture in cities in the US and Canada. The focus of their analysis is on three overarching ‘systems’ of community power system, the community value system, and the community decision-making system. The authors address a number of questions around the nature of civic culture and the relationships between the three systemic elements of civic culture, to refine and apply a more sophisticated theory of urban policy-making.

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