Trim: 6¼ x 9½
978-1-4985-2044-7 • Hardback • December 2017 • $94.00 • (£72.00)
978-1-4985-2046-1 • Paperback • September 2019 • $43.99 • (£34.00)
978-1-4985-2045-4 • eBook • December 2017 • $41.50 • (£30.00)
Barry E. Truchil is professor of sociology at Rider University.
1. The Myth of a Balanced Budget
2. Political Conflict at the Local Level
3. Making a Difference: Progressive Politics
4. Corruption… and Corruption “By any other Name”
From an interdisciplinary perspective that draws on sociology, political science, and other disciplines, Truchil (Rider Univ.) offers a new and practical perspective on a dictum uttered by former house speaker Tip O'Neill—all politics is local. Although this dictum has been debated widely by scholars and citizens, a review of the local government literature illustrates major research gaps, including the lack of recent scholarship on the inner workings of small towns and suburbia. To close this gap in the literature and offer findings accessible to larger audiences, Truchil draws on his many years of experiences as a town official and pursues an active sociological inquiry that seeks to answer questions. Informed by extensive service in government and guided by public sociology, Truchil demystifies the financial operation of local government by examining the idea of a balanced budget, tricks of fund accounting, and subsequent interdepartmental tensions. The in-depth, hands-on discussion continues with analyses of how disputes unfold within the conceptual context of the local growth machine, the pursuit of progressive politics, and illegal and legal forms of corruption in local government.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.— Choice Reviews
In The Politics of Local Government: Governing in Small Towns and Suburbia, Barry E. Truchil uses his sociological lens and personal experiences as an elected official to provide a much needed view of the process of local governance. Incorporating the scholarly literature with his personal experience, Truchil is able to uncover often hidden aspects of the local governing process. Calling for the active participation of local citizens to be both a watchdog on potential abuses of local government and a guide to address larger issues of inequality and social justice, Truchil has given us public sociology at its best.— Rhonda F. Levine, emerita, Colgate University
In my view, Barry Truchil’s The Politics of Local Government is destined to become a classic in the study of the politics and workings of local government in small town suburban America. Based on an extensive review of sociological and political science literature and over a decade of participation in all aspects of local governance, the book fills a major gap in that scholarship by offering unparalleled insights into the contending social and political forces that shape and influence the lives of small town residents. The Politics of Local Government is a must read for scholars and the lay public alike with an interest in understanding how local politics really works.— Alex Dupuy, Wesleyan University
By weaving his experiences as a city councilperson for fourteen years with the practicalities of local government, Barry Truchil has written a thoroughly informative and undeniably useful book on governing in small towns and suburbs. Anyone considering running for local office, serving on a local commission, taking a professional position in a small local government, or simply participating in local politics has to read this book.— Robert Beauregard, emeritus, Columbia University
The Politics of Local Government makes an important contribution to the study of small town and suburban government, filling a void in the literature on this topic. As both a sociologist and former elected official, Truchil deftly explores the social forces at work in local politics. His scholarly analysis coupled with personal experience demonstrates that in an age of big national issues, ‘all politics is local.’ Undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of public sociology and political science will benefit from this in-depth investigation.— Roberta Goldberg, Trinity Washington University