Democratic Accountability and Social Control
This chapter summarizes the book's main findings and offers insights into its implications for federalism, political representation, crime, and governance. While federalism may provide multiple pathways of access, it also divides and conquers, isolating poorly resourced groups from one another and making it difficult for them to hold legislators accountable to their interests. The federalization of crime control serves not only to promote the narrow interests of highly mobilized groups, it may also atrophy local civic engagement by reducing the opportunities for local groups to participate meaningfully in agenda setting and problem definition. The rich mix of interest group activity at the local level has implications for accountability and representation that are poorly served at the state and national levels. The groups at most risk of victimization—the poor and racial minorities—give voice to definitions of the problem that revitalize a broader discussion of the public sphere, the life conditions the most marginalized experience, and the capacity of collective efforts to ameliorate those conditions. This is particularly significant since state and national venues depoliticize and individualize the problems facing urban minorities today. This chapter also revisits the typology of group representation presented in Chapter 1.
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