The Comparative Study of Local Government and Politics: Overview and Synthesis

The book provides a review of the state of the art as regards local government studies, with an emphasis on contributions by political scientists. Particular attention is paid to the development of the research agenda in the field. At the end, a future research agenda is outlined. The first chapter of the book outlines the development of the research agenda of the field of local government studies; while community power studies were central topics from the 1930s and into the 1950s and 60s, policy-oriented research became increasingly popular in the 1970s. Institutional issues have always been important concerns to the scholars in this field. The next chapter raises a question of increasing relevance in a globalizing world: Will local government have any meaningful role in such a world? Various answers, mostly in the affirmative, are suggested. Local government studies face specific methodological challenges; these are reviewed in a separate chapter; the role of local government studies as a laboratory for the social sciences is highlighted. The book also provides a global overview of the infra-structure of research in the field (research institutes and groups, data bases, etc). Finally, ideas regarding a research agenda for the future are presented and a Laswellian platform for collaborative and comparative research is elaborated.