front cover of Banking on Reform
Banking on Reform
Political Parties and Central Bank Independence in the Industrial Democracies
William Bernhard
University of Michigan Press, 2002
Banking on Reform examines the political determinants of recent reforms to monetary policy institutions in the industrial democracies. With these reforms, political parties have sought to draw on the political credibility of an independent central bank to cope with electoral consequences of economic internalization and deindustrialization.
New Zealand and Italy made the initial efforts to grant their central banks independence. More recently, France, Spain, Britain, and Sweden have reformed their central banks' independence. Additionally, members of the European Union have implemented a single currency, with an independent European central bank to administer monetary policy.
Banking on Reform stresses the politics surrounding the choice of these institutions, specifically the motivations of political parties. Where intraparty conflicts have threatened the party's ability to hold office, politicians have adopted an independent central bank. Where political parties have been secluded from the political consequences of economic change, reform has been thwarted or delayed. The drive toward a single currency also reflects these political concerns. By delegating monetary policy to the European level, politicians in the member states removed a potentially divisive issue from the domestic political agenda, allowing parties to rebuild their support constructed on the basis of other issues. William T. Bernhard provides a variety of evidence to support his argument, such as in-depth case accounts of recent central bank reforms in Italy and Britain, the role of the German Bundesbank in the policy process, and the adoption of the single currency in Europe. Additionally, he utilizes quantitative and statistical tests to enhance his argument.
This book will appeal to political scientists, economists, and other social scientists interested in the political and institutional consequences of economic globalization.
William T. Bernhard is Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

front cover of Bernie Sanders and the Boundaries of Reform
Bernie Sanders and the Boundaries of Reform
Socialism in Burlington
W. J. Conroy
Temple University Press, 2016
Today, Bernie Sanders is a household name, a wildly popular presidential candidate and an icon for progressive Democrats in the United States. But back in the 1980s, this “democratic socialist”—though some folks would prefer the term “social democrat”—was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, where his administration attempted radical reforms. Some efforts were successful, but when a waterfront deal failed, it was not due to Sanders' efforts; he would rather compromise and have a net gain than be an ideological purist.
In his preface to this reissue of the 1990 book, Challenging the Boundaries of Reform, W. J. Conroy reflects on the recent legacy of Sanders, his Agenda for America, and his appeal to young voters. His book then looks back to identify Sanders’ experience in Burlington by examining several case studies that unfolded amidst a conservative trend nationally, an unsympathetic state government, and a hostile city council.
Ultimately, Conroy asks what lessons can be drawn from the case of Burlington that would aid the American left in its struggle to capture both government and civil society? 

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Bifurcated Politics
Evolution and Reform in the National Party Convention
Byron E. Shafer
Harvard University Press, 1988

Even today, when it is often viewed as an institution in decline, the national party convention retains a certain raw, emotional, populist fascination. Bifurcated Politics is a portrait of the postwar convention as a changing institution—a changing institution that still confirms the single most important decision in American politics.

With the 1988 elections clearly in mind, Byron E. Shafer examines the status of the national party convention, which is created and dispersed within a handful of days but nevertheless becomes a self-contained world for participants, reporters, and observers alike. He analyzes such dramatic developments as the disappearance of the contest over the presidential nomination and its replacement by struggles over the publicizing of various campaigns, the decline of party officials and the rise of the organized interests, and the large and growing disjunction between what is happening at the convention hall and what the public sees—between the convention on site and the convention on screen. He argues that, despite its declining status, the postwar convention has attracted—and mirrored—most of the major developments in postwar politics: the nationalization of that politics and the spread of procedural reform, a changing connection between the general public and political institutions, even the coming of a new and different sort of American politics.

Bifurcated Politics tells the story of most of the postwar conventions, along with the nominating campaigns that preceded them. But it also develops a picture of the changing American politics around those stories. It will become the definitive study of the national party convention.


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Blackface Nation
Race, Reform, and Identity in American Popular Music, 1812-1925
Brian Roberts
University of Chicago Press, 2017
As the United States transitioned from a rural nation to an urbanized, industrial giant between the War of 1812 and the early twentieth century, ordinary people struggled over the question of what it meant to be American. As Brian Roberts shows in Blackface Nation, this struggle is especially evident in popular culture and the interplay between two specific strains of music: middle-class folk and blackface minstrelsy.

The Hutchinson Family Singers, the Northeast’s most popular middle-class singing group during the mid-nineteenth century, is perhaps the best example of the first strain of music. The group’s songs expressed an American identity rooted in communal values, with lyrics focusing on abolition, women’s rights, and socialism. Blackface minstrelsy, on the other hand, emerged out of an audience-based coalition of Northern business elites, Southern slaveholders, and young, white, working-class men, for whom blackface expressed an identity rooted in individual self-expression, anti-intellectualism, and white superiority. Its performers embodied the love-crime version of racism, in which vast swaths of the white public adored African Americans who fit blackface stereotypes even as they used those stereotypes to rationalize white supremacy. By the early twentieth century, the blackface version of the American identity had become a part of America’s consumer culture while the Hutchinsons’ songs were increasingly regarded as old-fashioned. Blackface Nation elucidates the central irony in America’s musical history: much of the music that has been interpreted as black, authentic, and expressive was invented, performed, and enjoyed by people who believed strongly in white superiority.  At the same time, the music often depicted as white, repressed, and boringly bourgeois was often socially and racially inclusive, committed to reform, and devoted to challenging the immoralities at the heart of America’s capitalist order.

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Blaming Teachers
Professionalization Policies and the Failure of Reform in American History
Diana D'Amico Pawlewicz
Rutgers University Press, 2020
Winner of the 2021 Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award

Historically, Americans of all stripes have concurred that teachers were essential to the success of the public schools and nation. However, they have also concurred that public school teachers were to blame for the failures of the schools and identified professionalization as a panacea.
In Blaming Teachers, Diana D'Amico Pawlewicz reveals that historical professionalization reforms subverted public school teachers’ professional legitimacy. Superficially, professionalism connotes authority, expertise, and status. Professionalization for teachers never unfolded this way; rather, it was a policy process fueled by blame where others identified teachers’ shortcomings. Policymakers, school leaders, and others understood professionalization measures for teachers as efficient ways to bolster the growing bureaucratic order of the public schools through regulation and standardization. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century with the rise of municipal public school systems and reaching into the 1980s, Blaming Teachers traces the history of professionalization policies and the discourses of blame that sustained them.

front cover of Building Power to Shape Labor Policy
Building Power to Shape Labor Policy
Unions, Employer Associations, and Reform in Neoliberal Chile
Pablo Perez Ahumada
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2023
During Chile’s shift to neoliberalism, the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet passed a swath of probusiness labor legislation. Subsequent labor reforms by democratically elected progressive administrations have sought to shift power back to workers, but this task has proven difficult. In Building Power to Shape Labor Policy, Pablo Pérez Ahumada explains why. Focusing on reforms to collective labor law, Pérez Ahumada argues that analyzing how both workers and employers mobilize power to influence government policies is crucial for understanding labor reform outcomes. He examines the relational character of power to explain how different types of power—structural, institutional, associational—interact with each other, and proposes a relational understanding of power and how it is balanced among competing social classes. While workers and employers both have a hand in shaping labor law, their influence is not equal. Analysis of recent events in Chile reveals how the balance of power and the lingering effects of neoliberalism manifest in labor reform. 

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