Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

California: The Politics of Diversity, 8th Edition

  • David G. Lawrence
  • Jeff Cummins
  • ISBN-10: 1285738179
  • ISBN-13: 9781285738178
  • 320 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2013, 2010, 2008
  • COPYRIGHT: 2015 Published
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About the Product

CALIFORNIA: THE POLITICS OF DIVERSITY, Eighth Edition, is a comprehensive text that explores the uniqueness and excitement of California's political environment through two key themes: diversity and hyperpluralism. An experienced educator with a background in local government, Lawrence brings an informed, insightful perspective to the examination of the numerous pressures that make governing the state increasingly challenging. To help readers better understand California politics in a national context, the text also discusses aspects of American politics such as the democratic, elite, and pluralist theories and shows how those concepts can aid in understanding California politics.


  • To provide a uniquely detailed and realistic view of politics in California, the author focuses on two central themes: diversity (including economic, social, geographic, and political) and hyperpluralism (politics and policy dominated by group conflict and, at times, gridlock).

  • The text includes numerous telling comparison points by examining data such as housing costs, taxes, transportation spending, and education spending in California and several other states.

  • A strong public policy focus throughout the text allows for a clear, consistent exploration of the practical results of California legislation and government.

  • "In Brief" boxes and outlines preview forthcoming content.

  • "California Voices" boxes feature the insights of prominent Californians, past and present.


"Easy to read, easy for the students to read and follow—great flow."- Antoine Clerc, College of the Desert
— Antoine Clerc

About the Author

David G. Lawrence

David G. Lawrence is professor emeritus of political science at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. As a teacher, scholar, and former public official, he has applied theory and practice to California politics. He served on a city council as mayor pro tem, chaired a regional planning agency, and is former president of the California Association of Councils of Governments (CALCOG). He currently serves on the Measure A Citizens Oversight Committee, a group that advises the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments on the expenditure of sales tax revenues earmarked for transportation (an estimated $1 billion over 30 years). He is also former president of the California Center for Education in Public Affairs, a consortium of colleges and universities dedicated to helping students better understand California politics through Sacramento seminars and post-election briefings.

Jeff Cummins

Jeff Cummins is associate professor of political science at California State University, Fresno. He previously worked for the Legislative Analyst's Office in Sacramento, where he advised the legislature on budgetary and policy issues. He teaches courses on state and local government, California politics, and Public Budgeting, among others. He is the author of Boom and Bust: The Politics of the California Budget, and his research has appeared in journals such as State Politics and Policy Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, and American Politics Research. He is a frequent contributor to the news media and has been interviewed by the New York Times, National Public Radio (NPR), the Economist, National Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, and the Fresno Bee.

Table of Contents

1. Explaining California Politics.
2. California's Political Development.
3. Constitutionalism and Federalism: The Perimeters of California Politics.
4. Direct Democracy in a Hyperpluralistic Age.
5. How Californians Participate.
6. Linking People and Policymakers: Media, Parties, and Interest Groups.
7. Legislative Politics.
8. Executive Politics.
9. California's Judiciary.
10. Community Politics.
11. Budget Policy: The Cost of Diversity.
12. Policies Stemming from Growth.
13. Policies Stemming from Diversity.

New to this edition

  • Updated election coverage throughout and several new case studies are included in the boxed features "In Brief," "California Voices," and "Did You Know?" with updated information about the 2012 elections.
  • Discussion of key political talking points, such as marriage equality and immigration.
  • Updated figures and tables are featured throughout the book, emphasizing the most up-to-date data and information available at time of publication.
  • Chapters have been closely reviewed and unnecessary information has been removed, per review request, in order to keep the book concise and easy to read.
  • Several figures and tables with side-by-side comparisons of California to other states or the country as a whole have been added.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

Online Instructor's Manual with Test Bank  (ISBN-10: 1285738187 | ISBN-13: 9781285738185)

A revised Instructor's Manual and Test Bank offers suggestions for class discussions, writing assignments, Internet and research projects, and exam questions.