The work of early pluralist thinkers, from Arthur Bentley to Robert Dahl, inspired much optimism about democracy. They argued that democracy was functioning well, despite disagreements arising among the diversity of interests represented in policy-making processes. Yet it is unlikely that anyone paying attention to news coverage today would share such optimism. The media portray current policy-making processes as intractably polarized, devoid of any opportunity to move forward and adopt essential policy changes. This book aims to revive our long-lost sense of optimism about policy-making and democracy. Through original research into biotechlogy policy-making in North America and Europe, Eric Montpetit shows that the depiction of policy-making offered by early pluralist thinkers is t so far off the present reality. Today's policy decision-making process - complete with disagreement among the participants - is consistent with what might be expected in a pluralist society, in sharp contrast with the negative image projected by the media.
Eric Montpetit is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the Universite de Montreal. He is the author of Misplaced Distrust: Policy Networks and the Environment in France, the United States and Canada, which won the American Political Science Association's Lynton Keith Caldwell Prize for the best book on environmental politics and policy in 2006. He has published work in the Policy Studies Journal, Comparative Political Studies, Environmental Politics, Policy Sciences, Governance, the Journal of European Public Policy, the Journal of Public Policy, the Canadian Journal of Political Science, Public Administration, World Politics and Political Studies.