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Quo vadis America?

Conceptualizing Change in American Democracy

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Edited By Bohdan Szklarski

It is possible to identify at least three ways of conceptualizing change in American democracy. First, change is seen as a product of development. Here change is linear, it signifies progress. The second model sees change as coming from the reflection of the relationship between values and their institutional manifestations. It has a distinctly conservative character. The third approach sees change as an innovation, often a product of technological advancement. Each conceptualization of change stipulates a different set of problems which need to be addressed. The first – functional approach – is mainly concerned with the efficiency of the socio-political system. The second – intellectual approach – poses questions about the system stability and legitimacy. The third – mechanical approach – inquires about the system’s adaptability. These and other dimensions of change are explored by the contributors in their analyses of domestic and foreign policy, cultural and social conflicts, economic relations, ideologies, and public discourse in contemporary America.