Exploring Federalism

Exploring Federalism

Exploring Federalism

Exploring Federalism

Synopsis

The release of this book in 1987 prompted a flurry of excellent and complimentary reviews furthering Elazar's already considerable reputation as the leading contemporary scholar of federalism.

Excerpt

During the past fifteen years, I have moved from a concern with one federal system, that of the United States of America, to a consideration of the comparative dimensions of federal systems. My own curiosity led me into this exploration to discern the extent to which the American system was special, unique, and different, as "everybody" always says it is, and the extent to which it is like other federal systems. My goal was to develop more sophisticated questions of comparison than the simple one that is perhaps the foundation of curiosity about all things political.

To my great pleasure, I discovered that there was a place in my own scheme of things for pursuing these lines of inquiry. I also discovered after reading through the field that, although one could learn a great deal from what had been written already, questions still remained unanswered. This book is a summation and reflection of what I have learned to date. In addition, it is designed to suggest an agenda of questions that have occurred to me as being of particular importance for investigation or, perhaps more accurately, for further investigation.

If this book has any purpose beyond the conveyance of the joy of the exploration, it is to demonstrate that federalism offers a way to approach political phenomena in its own right and is not to be subsumed within other models of political inquiry. If the federalist way has a particular intellectual virtue, it is because, for students of federalism, every good theoretical question must have a practical dimension . . .

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