POWER AND PARTICIPATION: SPRING 1994
Political Studies 112 Office Hours
Monday 7-10 PM Mon 10:00-11:00
Professor Dana Ward Tues 11:00-12:00
Office: A207 Wed 10:00-11:00
Phone: 3177 Thur 11:00-12:00
The goals of this course are to examine 1) the concept of political power,
2) the structure of power in the United States, 3) the pathways by which
ordinary citizens participate in the political process other than in
elections, 4) the obstacles that must be overcome in order for that
participation to be effective, and 5) the analysis of particular political
movements. The course does not focus on electoral participation. The
organization of the course will be along the lines of a research seminar, and
for the course to be successful we will have to cooperate in rounding out the
The class will be broken down into a number of "task forces" (TF's). Each
TF will be responsible for directing the class's course of study during the
second half of the course. The TF's responsibilities will include the
assignment of additional readings (as necessary), leading a class discussion,
and the preparation of a Final Position Paper. The topics around which the
task forces will be organized are the following:
POLITICAL DOMINATION: Who owns the United States, who runs the U.S.,
interlocking directorships, elite circulation and formation, the special
interest process, the policy formation process, and the reproduction of
class relations, the media monopoly.
POLITICAL SURVEILLANCE: Politics outside the mainstream and encounters with
the intelligence community including CIA, NSA, and FBI domestic
dissemination of misinformation.
POLITICS AT THE GRASSROOTS: Poor people's movements, civil rights movements,
dispossessed farmers, the homeless, neighborhood organizations,farm worker
and union movements.
POLITICAL ALTERNATIVES: Populism, decentralization, economic and workplace
In the first half of the course we will read some theoretical works on the
concept of power and review the classic controversy between the pluralist
and elite views of power in the United States. This period will initiate
the debate which will run throughout the course: How concentrated or
diffuse is the distribution of power, how is that power exercised, and what,
if anything, should be done to reform the power structure.
The primary requirement of the course is active participation in the task
force activities. The TFs will consist of approximately five to seven people.
Assignment to a task force will take place during the second week of class.
During the third week some reorganization may take place, but from that point
The primary responsibility of the task force is the production of a position
paper. This paper will be between five and seven pagers per TF member. The
position papers will vary in format from TF to TF depending upon the subject,
but essentially the position papers will analyze the topic in terms of its
history, present status, the range of possible policies toward the issue at
hand, the preferred solution and probable outcomes. The final position
paper should read as if it were a briefing for a political leader in which
the leader is brought up to date on the issue at hand and the policy
alternatives available are laid out and analyzed. Each TF member will be
responsible for a separate section of the paper, but the paper must be
submitted as a unified whole. In short, this will require that you work
together on the project and that you must hold up your end. The paper is
due the day your task force leads the class discussion and will be graded
as follows: One third of the grade will be based on Professor Ward's
evaluation of the paper, one third will be based on the entire class's
evaluation of the group's presentation, and one third of the grade will
be based on the evaluation of your performance in the task force by your
fellow task force members. The position paper will constitute thirty
percent of your final grade.
As noted above, each TF will be responsible for making an oral
presentation dealing with their assigned topic. The presentation should go
well beyond the text assigned for that topic. The discussion should be
informative and should stimulate further questions for class debate. Two
hours of class time will be allotted for the presentation. The organization
of the presentation is the TF's responsibility and can be carried out in any
way agreed upon by the group. The four presentations will take place on the
March 7: Political Domination :
March 28: Political Surveillance
April 18: Politics at the Grass Roots
May 2: Political Alternatives
Two week prior to the presentation the task force must submit a list of
suggested supplementary readings on the TF's topic to Professor Ward.
Professor Ward will then select readings from that list which will be
assigned to the entire class as required reading to be completed before the
In addition to the TF paper, two additional seven page papers must be
completed. One paper must focus on some aspect of the power structure in
the U.S., and the second paper must focus on some aspect of political
participation (other than electoral participation) in the U.S. The
specific topic for each paper must be cleared with Professor Ward at the
earliest possible moment. The first paper on the power structure can be
turned in any time prior to the semester break. The second paper on
political participation can be turned in any time between the end of the
semester break and the last day of class. Each paper is worth twenty-five
percent of your final grade.
There will be a number of unannounced quizzes dealing with the readings
assigned for the course. The quizzes will focus on the broad themes of the
assigned books and articles and will take roughly twenty minutes of class
time to complete. The purpose of the quizzes is to insure that the reading
is done on time, and to help you hone your expository writing skills.
Collectively, the quizzes will constitute ten percent of your final grade.
The final ten percent of your grade will be based on a self evaluation.
On January 24 you will each submit a statement of your goals for the
course. This statement should be as specific and detailed as possible.
Plan your method for meeting the responsibilities of this course, set weekly
goals and time schedules, or whatever will help you to think about why you
are taking this particular course and how it fits your over-all learning
goals. Then, on the last day of class, turn in a self evaluation in which
you analyze how well you met your goals, how your goals changed, and what
unforeseen goals emerged. You will then assign yourself an over-all grade
based on your performance in this course.
GRADING WEIGHTS SUMMARIZED
Task Force paper = Thirty Percent
Power Paper = Twenty-five Percent
Participation Paper = Twenty-five Percent
Quizzes = Ten Percent
Self Evaluation = Ten Percent
Bagdikian, B., The Media Monopoly
Churchill, W. & Vander Wall, J., Agents of Repression
Domhoff, G.W., The Power Elite and the State
Dye, T., Who's Running America?
Krimerman, L. & Lindenfeld, F., When Workers Decide
Piven, F.F., & Cloward, R., Poor People's Movements
All readings are required and must be completed before the date listed
below. The exception is the first week's readings, most of which will be
done in class during our first meeting. Additional readings, up to a maximum
of 60 pages, may be assigned by the task forces as deemed necessary. These
additional readings will be made available a week before they are due and
will be on reserve at Mead Library.
Jan 17: Dahl, "Who Governs", pp. 93-114, on reserve.
Bachrach & Baratz. "Two Faces of Power", pp. 239-249, on reserve.
Gaventa, "Power & Powerlessness", pp. 3-32, on reserve.
Jan 24: Dye, T., Who's Running America?, pp.1-164.
Jan 31: Dye, T., Who's Running America?, pp. 165-283.
Feb 7: Domhoff, G.W., The Power Elite and the State, pp.xiii-xix, 1-151.
Feb 14: Domhoff, G.W., The Power Elite and the State, pp. 153-285.
Feb 21: Bagdikian, B., The Media Monopoly, pp. vii-xxxi, 3-133.
Feb 28: Bagdikian, B., The Media Monopoly, pp. 134-252
Mar 7: Churchill, W. & Vander Wall, J., Agents of Repression, pp.1-134.
Mar 21: Churchill, W. & Vander Wall, J., Agents of Repression, 135-285.
Mar 28: Churchill, W. & Vander Wall, J., Agents of Repression, pp. 287-388.
Apr 4: Piven, F.F., & Cloward, R., Poor People's Movements, pp.ix-xxiv, 1-147.
Apr 11: Piven, F.F., & Cloward, R., Poor People's Movements, pp. 147-301.
Apr 18: Piven, F.F., & Cloward, R., Poor People's Movements, pp. 301-359.
Apr 25: Krimerman, L. & Lindenfeld, F., When Workers Decide, pp. 1-154.
May 2: Krimerman, L. & Lindenfeld, F., When Workers Decide, pp. 155-268.