The Contours of American Politics: An Introduction
August 2002, Polity
The Contours of American Politics takes a fresh look at
the political culture of the United States. In its complexity and
diversity, America fascinates. Its politics are brash and exciting,
and its political impact upon the wider world is profound. This
book examines not simply the mechanics of America's political
system but also the ideas and principles that shape its
Drawing on a diverse range of interdisciplinary material, the
book maps the landscape of contemporary American political culture
and identity. It surveys the nation's past as a critical and
formative influence upon its present. It argues that religious
beliefs, together with patterns of immigration and migration
westwards across the continent, create the landscape of America's
contemporary political culture. Roper examines the "politics of
nostalgia" the roots of American democracy, and the framework of
the federal government. Other topics covered include the nature of
political power, the influence of the media, the stratification of
American society in terms of race, class and gender, and the
cultural sensibilities that underpin foreign policy.
The Contours of American Politics is an excellent guide to the nation's political thinking, its attitudes and its political processes at the end of the "American Century" and at the beginning of the new millennium. It will be essential reading for undergraduates studying American Politics, American Culture, and International Relations.
1 Lighting Out for the Territory.
2 The Politics of Nostalgia.
3 The Challenges of the Constitution.
4 The Framework of Government.
5 Playing the Political Game.
6 Making Headlines.
8 In Country.
9 Back on the Raft.
- A key introduction to US politics, offering students a comprehensive guide to institutions, processes and issues
- An essential guide to the nation's political thinking, its attitudes and its political processes at the end of the American Century and at the beginning of the new millennium
- Examines not just the mechanics of America's political system but also the ideas and principles which shape its values
- Argues that religious beliefs, together with patterns of immigration and migration westwards across the continent, create the landscape of America's contemporary political culture
- Explores the politics of nostalgia, the roots of American democracy, the framework of the federal government and the cultural sensibilities which underpin foreign policy
‘Jon Roper's treatment of American politics stands as
refreshingly different from the standard textbook on this subject.
Roper has creatively integrated the essentials of the US political
system with the persistent influence of the American historical
experience and the often-overlooked impact of American cultural
From his clever Huckleberry Finn metaphors to his invocation of images from classic American films, Roper has produced a readable and thoughtful text, one which reflects an awareness of the reader as well as a solid scholarly foundation. He is at his finest when reminding readers that current debates in domestic and foreign policy take place not in a vacuum, but in a vibrant historical and cultural context' Harold Molineu, Department of Political Science, Ohio University
"Roper has produced a lively and entertaining book which not
only covers all the essential factual detail needed for a student
text but also provides fresh insight for the specialist as well".
Michael Boyle. International Relations Theory.
"There is much to admire in Roper's interpretation...Roper writes well; the book never fails to sustain reader interest" Richard M. Merelman, Political Science Quarterly
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