Who governs? Who really makes the policy decisions? Whose views do they represent? There are three competing theories that try to answer the question of who governs.
1. How does pluralism answer the question who governs?
2. How does elite theory answer the question who governs?
3. Who makes up the power elite according to C. Wright Mills? How is membership obtained?
4. What common values do the elite possess?
5. “What’s good for GM is good for America.” Explain this statement and how it relates to elite theory.
6. What are “trunk decisions” and how does this support elite theory?
7. What is majoritarianism? How does it work?
8. Which theory do you think best answers the question of who governs?
9. Find one recent policy decision that represents pluralism. What groups were involved in the debate?
10. Find one recent policy decision that represents elite theory. Explain how this is elite theory at work.
Is this characteristic/statement true of Majoritarianism, Pluralism, or Elite Theory?
1. Requires specialized knowledge from groups of citizens
2. Derives power from the continuing success of America’s largest corporations
3. Based on rule of the majority
4. Citizens need some working knowledge of government
5. Favors a tax code with loopholes that favor the upper bracket
6. This allows minorities to control the government
7. Rotary Club, National Rifle Association, Chamber of Commerce
8. Has vast wealth and business connections
9. Prefers a decentralized government allowing easy access to government officials
10. Elections are the main mechanism in making decisions
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