Good Review: Making Democracy Work Essay Example
Disciplined field observation – personal interviews with regional counselors. This helps to provide observational evidence to support the points being made.
Analysis of Statistical Measures – Research and numerical data on institutional performance of Italian governments. This offers empirical data on the effectiveness of these measures and organizations.
Putnam establishes a measure of institutional performance in order to provide a framework for evaluating how well Italy’s government governs. He operationalized the concept by creating twelve indicators of institutional performance that incorporates statistical data to help offer empirical, quantitative analysis of performance.
Other explanations include the importance of consensus for stable democracies, the innate superiority of “Anglo-American political systems” and the need to foster unanimous agreement to achieve political harmony. Putnam’s explanation works better in explaining the ways in which governments vary in performance even when those institutions remain constant, as is the case with the Italian states.
Putnam operationalizes civic virtue by taking a census of every local and national association in Italy in order to help link every possible interaction between organized groups in Italy with political and institutional performance. Combining preference voting, referenda turnout, newspaper readership and cultural association scarcity allows Putnam to create a measure of civic virtue by linking all of these associations together into a cohesive whole.
Putnam cites the development of strong regional and local identities throughout Italy’s history as a way of showcasing the unique and diverse neighborhoods and regions of Italy. His test on these measures shows the increased performance of these institutions over time, while also showcasing a relative stability indicative of the respective success of each region’s institutions.
The broad equilibria of socioeconomic modernity and civic community helps to explain the different approaches of the North and South – the North, with its greater sense of socioeconomic modernity due to its greater wealth, used more resource-heavy approaches, while the South was comparatively less successful by being less modern.
Italy’s numerous, yet diverse regions allow for incredible diversity in communities all in the same nation, allowing representative political institutions to be examined in a single nation that has a variety of different communities comprising it.
Civic attitudes in the North and South are closely related to the economic gap between the two halves of the country, which is substantial. The North is substantially wealthier on average in the North than in the South, and evidence indicates that the North has historically had more civic norms and patterns than the South as well. This invariably led to greater institutional performance in the North over the South.
Putnam, Robert D. Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy. Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1993.