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SEMINAR | American Federalism: Is there a method to its madness?



Start Date

13 Jul 2016 1:00 pm

End Date

13 Jul 2016 2:30 pm

Institute for the Study of Social Change logo

An Institute for the Study of Social Change seminar

presented by

Professor John Kincaid, Lafayette College, PA

About the presentation
Federalism has been a non-issue in presidential and congressional campaigns since 1980 because the primacy of the federal government is largely settled. The federal system took a decisively nationalizing turn during the late 1960s, giving rise to more coercive federal policy-making and state-local regulation. This coercive federalism has contributed significantly to the polarization of American politics because it has centered in the capital numerous sensitive issues previously diffused among the states. It also has increased partisan incentives to capture monopolistic control of state governments to function as opponents and advocates of partisan-driven federal policies. Bifurcation between most of the states into Democratic and Republican strongholds generates contentious political relations between states and the federal government and among the states, thereby reducing the states' ability to impede coercive federal policy-making. Paradoxically, though, intergovernmental administration is still mostly cooperative, the states are laboratories of democracy, U.S. federalism remains comparatively non-centralized, and there is no agitation for federalism reform.

About the presenter

John Kincaid is the Robert B. and Helen S. Meyner Professor of Government and Public Service and Director of the Meyner Center for the Study of State and Local Government at Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania. He is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Section on Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations of the American Political Science Association, and recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Section on Intergovernmental Administration and Management of the American Society of Public Administration. He served as Senior Editor of the Global Dialogue on Federalism, a joint project of the Forum of Federations and International Association of Centers for Federal Studies (2001-2015); Editor of Publius: The Journal of Federalism (1981-2006); and Executive Director of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, Washington, D.C. (1988-1994). He is the author of various works on federalism and intergovernmental relations, co-editor most recently of The Covenant Connection: From Federal Theology to Modern Federalism (2000), Constitutional Origins, Structure, and Change in Federal Countries (2005), Routledge Handbook of Regionalism and Federalism (2013), Intergovernmental Relations in Federal Systems: Comparative Structures and Dynamics (2015), and Political Parties and Civil Society in Federal Countries (2015) and editor of Federalism (4 vols, 2011).

He has lectured and consulted on issues of federalism, intergovernmental relations, state and local government, and decentralization throughout the United States as well as in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Germany, India, Iraq, Japan, Maldives, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

WHEN | Wednesday 13 July 2016, 1.00pm to 2.30pm

WHERE | Room 210 Social Sciences Building, Sandy Bay Campus

CONTACT | for more information

All welcome and we look forward to seeing you!

Event Flyer (PDF 400KB)


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