Cover image for The new liberalism : the rising power of citizen groups
The new liberalism : the rising power of citizen groups
Berry, Jeffrey M., 1948-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Brookings Institution Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xi, 220 pages ; 24 cm
Not dead -- The rise of citizen groups -- The rise of postmaterialism -- The power of citizen groups -- Liberals ascendant -- Rich in resources -- Liberalism transformed.
Reading Level:
1500 Lexile.
Format :


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Material Type
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JK1118 .B43 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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If you think liberalism is dead, think again. In this sure-to-be-controversial book, Jeffrey M. Berry argues that modern liberalism is not only still alive, it's actually thriving. Today's new liberalism has evolved from a traditional emphasis on bread-and-butter economic issues to a form he calls "postmaterialism"--quality-of-life concerns such as enhancing the environment, protecting consumers, or promoting civil rights. Berry credits the new liberalism's success to the rise of liberal citizen lobbying groups. By analyzing the activities of Congress during three sessions (1963, 1979, and 1991), he demonstrates the correlation between the increasing lobbying activities of citizen groups and a dramatic shift in the American political agenda from an early 1960s emphasis on economic equality to today's postmaterialist issues. Although conservative groups also began to emphasize postmaterial concerns--such as abortion and other family value issues--Berry finds that liberal citizen groups have been considerably more effective than conservative ones at getting their goals onto the congressional agenda and enacted into legislation. The book provides many examples of citizen group issues that Congress enacted into law, successes when citizen groups were in direct conflict with business interests and when demands were made on behalf of traditionally marginalized constituencies, such as the women's and civil rights movements. Berry concludes that although liberal citizen groups make up only a small portion of the thousands of lobbying organizations in Washington, they have been, and will continue to be, a major force in shaping the political landscape.

Author Notes

Jeffrey M. Berry is John Richard Skuse Class of 1941 Professor of Political Science at Tufts University. His most recent book, The New Liberalism: The Rising Power of Citizen Groups (Brookings, 1999) won the Policy Studies Organization's 1999 best book award.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Berry, the author of a book on liberal citizens' groups (Lobbying for the People, CH, May'78), has written another important volume on the impact of these groups. He argues that liberal groups have had great influence over Congress; thus liberalism has been more successful over recent decades than most realize. But postmaterial liberalism, represented mostly by environmental groups, has triumphed while traditional, equality-based liberalism has lost ground. This carefully researched and useful book will presumably start many arguments, including inevitable ones over who won and who lost, as well as the definition of liberalism itself (e.g., are liberals "ascendant" if equality is in retreat, and is it mostly just environmentalism that is ascendant?) Berry presents case studies of issues on which Congress held hearings in 1961, 1979, and 1991 as evidence. He offers additional evidence on 1995 events in which he attempts to refute the notion that the Republican Congress ended liberalism's success. The book contains interesting conclusions on how and why conservative citizens' groups have been so much less successful than liberal ones. Recommended for all levels, although some knowledge of interest group literature is helpful. J. Heyrman; Berea College

Table of Contents

About Brookingsp. iv
Acknowledgmentsp. v
Chapter 1 Not Deadp. 1
Chapter 2 The Rise Of Citizen Groupsp. 16
Chapter 3 The Rise Of Postmaterialismp. 34
Chapter 4 The Power Of Citizen Groupsp. 61
Chapter 5 Liberals Ascendantp. 87
Chapter 6 Rich in Resourcesp. 119
Chapter 7 Liberalism Transformedp. 153
Appendix A Methodologyp. 171
Appendix B List of Casesp. 184
Notesp. 190
Indexp. 209|