University of Southern California

Jefferey M. Sellers, Department of Political Science



Governing from Below

Urban Regions and the Global Economy

(Cambridge University Press, March 2002)

"Governing from Below is by far the best work around on the local/global connection, a rich
and nuanced study of eleven cities spread across France, Germany and the United States.
Contrary to assumptions that global imperatives control today's urban world, Sellers shows
that local governance still matters."

- Clarence Stone, University of Maryland

"Sellers has written an important book in comparative politics, with relevance to urban and poli-
cy studies, federalism, and comparative political economy. An ambitious book, Governing from
sets out an important new agenda for the comparative study of cities and the relationship
between public and private power at the urban level. The inclusion of the United States serves
both to illuminate the European cases and to highlight how the political economy of American
cities is linked to the unique features of American federalism."

- Alberta Sbragia, Director, European Union Center, U. of Pittsburgh

"Sellers's study shows that the site of political struggle over the shaping of citizens' life chances
in postindustrial polities is local and regional. Previous research on the democratic process and
political economic outcomes in postindustrial polities has all too easily ignored the importance
of regional and metropolitan space. Anyone who takes the methodological imperative to study
micrologics of political action seriously should turn to this study for inspiration."

- Herbert Kitschelt, Duke University


Throughout the world, more and more of policymaking and the politics that shape it take place
in the urban regions where most people live. This book, drawing on eleven case studies of
similar but disparate urban regions in France, Germany and the United States from the 1960s
into the 1990s, documents the growth of this urban governance and develops a pioneering analysis
of its causes and consequences. My analysis traces the origins to the expansion as well as the
devolution of policymaking, to mobilization around local business and institutional interests in
high-tech and service activities, and to the growth and incorporation of local social movements.
Nation-states shape the possibilities for this urban governance, but operate increasingly as
infrastructures for local initiatives than through dictates from above. Where urban governance
has succeeded best in combining environmental quality and social inclusion with local prosperity,
local officials have built not only on supportive infrastructures from higher levels, but on regimes
in the local economy and civil society, and on favorable positions in the global economy.


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