Governmental devolution and associational revolution: What's become of the citizenry and their government?
One can assert that the United States has, throughout its history, been in a state of construct, trying to connect its constituent parts. This thesis begins with the premise that the relationship between government and its citizens is an ongoing, changing relationship. The purpose of this critique is to bring to greater relief the complexity of the negotiation of this relationship and to add to the existing scholarly discussion by authors. First, how government is conceptualized deserves greater discussion. Further, this discussion should be framed within the context of how government considers its citizens. That is to say, the focus of this discourse should be the relationship between citizen and government -- both how government views citizen and vice versa. More specifically, I will argue that it is civic participation that connects citizen and government. Indeed, how this participation unfolds and presents itself is key to my argument. The foci of this thesis will be threefold: (1) to draw upon literature spanning several fields in order to illustrate a more complete picture of democratic theory, citizen participation, and the history of the making of the United States government; (2) to discuss the implications of the devolution of governmental responsibilities to associational organizations and explore how this action has led to a greater disconnect from individual citizens; and (3) to promote a dialogue, while extending current theory about association and the negotiation of the private/public boundary.