Planting sod or laying Astroturf? Edward T. Walker’s new book investigates whether professional consultants who organize grassroots campaigns on behalf of paying clients are rightfully conceived of as gardeners, carefully tending organic growth into desirable forms, or as manufacturers producing an ersatz substitute from artificial materials. While he describes a number of colorful instances of the latter—such as Citizens for Fire Safety, a supposedly independent group of concerned citizens revealed by the Chicago Tribune to be a front group created and funded entirely by producers of fire-retardant chemicals— Walker’s claim is that such examples are unrepresentative.
The true function of public affairs consultants, he argues, is the selective activation and mobilization of constituencies that share a preexisting—and therefore authentic—interest in achieving the client’s goal. This process gives rise to what Walker terms a “subsidized public,” in which intervention by consultants selectively lowers the barriers to participation among certain groups whose interests happen to coincide with those of the consultant’s clients. Applying Mancur Olson’s classic logic, we can expect such selective intervention to lead to an unbalanced pluralist playing field and, presumably, differences in p
To continue reading, see options above.
Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.
Primaries and Conventions for 2020
Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilsonview additional issues
Articles | Book reviews
THE PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS: EXTENDING THE U.S. UMBRELLA AND INCREASING CHANCES OF WAR
The Greater Good Gathering: Technology, Community, and the Greater Good
February 6–7, 2019
New York, NY
The Greater Good Gathering conference explored the future of public policy and how best to advance the greater good in the 21st century in light of technological innovation, economic disruption, ideological polarization, and governance challenges.MORE ABOUT THIS EVENT VIEW ALL EVENTS
The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.
With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.