Issue representation in neighborhood organizations: Questing for democracy at the grassroots

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Abstract

In this era of government reinvention and devolution, some have expressed interest in applying that logic to the local level by including neighborhood associations among the mechanisms for delivering urban services. However, if decision-making authority were to be decentralized to a greater extent, there is the possibility that the decisions of these organizational participants might not be reflective of the group they are supposed to represent. This article seeks to examine the issue representation ability of neighborhood associations. Using a unique neighborhood-level dataset from Indianapolis, this analysis reveals how representative the organization's activities are in terms of the issues that are of most importance to residents (other participants and non-participants). In addition, the article presents and tests a model to explain differences in the levels of representation. The findings raise concents with the wisdom of such devolution as well as highlight the environmental and organizational characteristics that influence issue representation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-137
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies

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