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Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics Paperback – October 26, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0674942936 ISBN-10: 0674942930 Edition: Abridged

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 664 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; Abridged edition (September 26, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674942930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674942936
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #671,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


[The authors] have written a splendid and engaging empirical treatise--large-scale social science at its very best--on how social and economic resources influence the extent to which, and the ways in which, people participate in politics and voluntary organizations. (Robert Y. Shapiro Political Science Quarterly)

This is undoubtedly an important book with revealing findings that contradict some popular assumptions about the health of democracy in the US. Despite the well documented loss of confidence in political institutions and the decline of electoral turnout, Americans continue to participate extensively in both political and non-political organisations. The voice of the people is clear and loud even if some voices are able to demand more attention than others. (David Mervin Borderlines)

The authors of this book have, together and separately, been fruitfully investigating political participation and inequality for years. Juggling a dazzling, mind-boggling array of original survey data, their new work makes the clear case that citizens' experience outside the realm of official politics--experience at home, church, work, school, and 'nonpolitical' voluntary associations--infuses their ability and desire to participate in politics. The ideal image of the public sphere is that it [can] compensate for inequalities bred elsewhere; this study forcefully shows how public life actually amplifies them...The marvel of this compendium is that it keeps so many questions in the air simultaneously...The book is an extremely rich source of data with many startling, thought-provoking finding. (Nina Eliasoph Contemporary Sociology)

Is American citizenship in crisis? Yes, say most pundits, not to mention most scholars of contemporary political life. A more nuanced reply appears in this comprehensive study...Voice and Equality presents a challenging paradox. On the one hand, the discourse of class is becoming less salient--in a political regime that has never been heavily imbued with the rhetoric of economic inequality. On the other, the state of political participation in America is now such that 'class matters profoundly. (Sidney M. Milkis Wilson Quarterly)

Voice and Equality is a major contribution to understanding patterns of political participation in the United States. First, it advances our knowledge of participation by providing descriptive details about the characteristics of those who engage in a variety of political actions beyond the electoral and campaign activities that can be examined through data collected in the American National Election Studies. Second, models to account for variation in several types of political activity are specified and tested. Third, the effects of participation on representation are assessed. (M. Margaret Conway Journal of Politics)

[A] significant event in the study of political participation and democratic politics...Voice and Equality documents our progress as a discipline in understanding the role of citizens in democratic politics. Day-to-day, such progress may be difficult to see, but over the longer haul it becomes quite apparent. Students of citizenship and democratic politics will want to read Verba, Schlozman, and Brady in order to witness that progress, as well as to understand the challenges that lie ahead. (Robert Huckfeldt The Review of Politics)

About the Author

Sidney Verba is Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor, Harvard University.

Kay Lehman Schlozman is Professor of Political Science, Boston College.

Henry E. Brady is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book provides several useful ways to understand the phenomenon of political participation -or the absence of it. Verba and his collaborators examine several variables that encourage people's involvement in politics, showing clearly that if differential rates of political activity reflect not different motivations, but differential resources, democracy is potentially threatened. The book is theoretically and empirically well-grounded -two characteristics of Verba's previous work that appear here again. In spite of being concerned exclusively with the American case, I think it will be a worthy reading for any person interested in politics in other countries, as it was for me.
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Format: Paperback
This book starts with a sound premise. That Americans gain more knowledge about political life by being involved in nonpolitical groups. People need not be political junkies to possess some degree of efficacy, rather they can advance this by participating in civic affairs within their communities. The end result will be that they will possess skills that they can use to advance their political goals. This is a very important finding because it sheds light upon the fact that people need not be involved in political action 24-7 to get ahead when they are forced to work for something they want. My only complaint with this book is that is too long in parts. It is just too long.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By connie z on February 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
I got this book for a class I took with Professor Verba. I'm a science major, and this was just an interesting government course I took. I ended up loving Prof Verba AND his book; it's laid out very clearly, and breaks government studies down into a social SCIENCE (with methodology and hypothesis testing) rather than just spouting theories. Needless to say, I really appreciated this. PS- Prof Verba is also one of the best professors I've ever had, and it is definitely reflected in his writing.
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Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics
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