From our January 2015 issue: Urban Regime Theory and the Problem of Change

  1. Joel Rast1

  1. 1University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, USA
  1. Joel Rast, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Bolton Hall 626, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53211, USA. Email:


The 25th anniversary of the publication of Clarence Stone’s Regime Politics presents an opportunity to consider ways of moving forward theoretically in a world that has begun to look much different from postwar Atlanta. In recent years, Stone has turned his attention from stability to change in urban governing arrangements, proposing American political development (APD) as a promising theoretical approach. While broadly in agreement with Stone about the advantages of APD for the study of urban political change, I identify some potential problems with his efforts to combine APD and regime analysis. In particular, I suggest that Stone more fully embrace APD’s emphasis on friction and disorder as a driver of change in governing arrangements and that the role of institutions, in addition to informal arrangements, be considered more directly in arguments about how change occurs.

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