Paul Schumaker



Download PDF (27.4 MB)

Download Schumaker_1991.epub (1.3 MB)


A central question in political science is who governs and how. Typically political scientists attempt to answer this question by relying upon either empirical analysis, which explains existing political practices, or normative analysis, which prescribes ideal political practices. Political scientist Paul Schumaker rejects this distinction between empirical and normative theory. Instead, he weds the two approaches to create the new analytical mode he calls critical pluralism. With it he can measure variances in government from pluralist/democratic ideals and still provide theoretical explanations of why the variances occurred. Schumaker uses critical pluralism to describe, explain, and evaluate variations in three key measures of democratic performance: responsible representation, complex equality, and principle-policy congruence. To test his framework and methodology he analyzes 29 community issues that arose in Lawrence, Kansas, between 1977 and 1987. The results of his study—one of the most comprehensive databases ever in the study of community politics—will be of interest to those who study community power. The conceptual framework itself and methodology used in assessing democratic performance will have a lasting impact on the way community government is studied. Description Paul Schumaker is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Kansas, where he taught for 45 years. He is the author or editor of several books, most recently The Twenty-Eighth Amendment?: Beyond Abolishing the Electoral College. With a New Preface by the Author. This Kansas Open Books title is funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Humanities Open Book Program.



Publication Date



University Press of Kansas


xviii, 262 pp.


Rights Statement

© 1991 by the University Press of Kansas. All rights reserved. First Published 1991. Reissued 2020. The text of this book is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License.

Rights Status

Open Access

Critical Pluralism, Democratic Performance, and Community Power