By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Powerscape: Contemporary Australian Politics
By Ariadne Vromen, Katharine Gelber, Anika Gauja (Allen & Unwin, $55.00, softcover, 463 pages)
There are a couple of specific challenges that the three authors set themselves in this second edition – and come up trumps.
The tasks were certainly ambitious, but they found a successful approach to present “introductory institutional information in a lively and interesting way and to capture the dynamism and complexity of Australian political processes and relate them to everyday political experiences”.
With impressive academic credentials, Ariadne Vromen, Katharine Gelber, Anika Gauja provide an introduction to Australian politics which emphasises the connection between the political process and everyday life.
Designed for today’s students, Powerscape offers a novel approach to the study of Australian politics. It outlines the core political institutions and processes and also analyses contemporary political issues and debates. It systematically investigates the role of power in political life.
The book is organised in three parts: power and democracy, political actors and policy processes. Each of the 14 chapters has a innovative introduction with a ‘snapshot’ that gives details based on current or recent event.
Part 1 provides the “core conceptual, theoretical and institutional material essential” to grasping the mechanics of Australian politics; Part II provides an overview of the range and power of political actors involved in contemporary politics in Australia; and Part III gives an overview of the context within which policy decisions are made and implemented in Australia.
It’s the story of a dynamic political system with high levels of public engagement.
Fully updated with extended analysis of the change of government at the 2007 Federal election, it includes new chapters and examples on political institutions and policy making.
A prevailing view that political participation in the 21st century in many liberal-democracies is restrained will be challenged as this book exposes multi-faceted communication with political processes by a wide range of players.
While the powerscape of Australian politics undergoes continuous change, there is reason for optimism.
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.