to maximize public interest and involvement in the formation of complex and very technical public policy.
This study is also a valuable cross-national investigation of political communication. Although Canada and the United States share a common border and a common environmental concern about acid rain, they differ in cultural heritages and political institutions. The authors' analyses provide an opportunity to identify and assess the general patterns of interest group activities and contextual influences and constraints across national boundaries. Such analyses contribute to the development of system-level conceptions of political communication.
Finally, this is an empirical study. Over 4,000 environmental group members and citizens were surveyed to generate several impressive datasets that provide the basis for the cross-cultural and public policy analyses.
The authors of this landmark study demonstrate the value and importance of interest groups in modern, technologically complex democracies. Ultimately, they argue that the key to interest group activity is the communication of policy-relevant technical knowledge and information. Perhaps because the stakes are even higher, citizens today demand greater access to information and opportunities for participation in the formation of public policy.
I am, without shame or modesty, a fan of the series. The joy of serving as its editor is in participating in the dialogue of the field of political communication and in reading the contributors' works. I invite you to join me.
Robert E. Denton Jr.