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A Novel Approach to Politics

A Novel Approach to Politics
Introducing Political Science through Books, Movies, and Popular Culture

Seventh Edition

September 2024 | 520 pages | CQ Press
A textbook your students will want to read.

"If you would like students to understand hard political concepts, this work makes it accessible for them. By using pop culture, we can open ideological ideas and students are not bound by their own preconceived ideas."
—Leah Murray, Weber State University

A Novel Approach to Politics turns the conventional textbook wisdom on its head by using pop culture references to illustrate key concepts and cover recent political events. Adopters of previous editions are thanking author Douglas A. Van Belle for some of their best student evaluations to date.

With this Seventh Edition, Van Belle brings the book fully up-to-date with recent events, current policy debates, international happenings, and other assorted political matters. Understanding politics requires a willingness to engage with ideas, arguments, and information that makes you uncomfortable, Van Belle takes the most tumultuous political periods in recent history head-on. Somehow, he weaves in recent movies and books into the text as he works in a solid foundation in institutions, ideology, and economics controversies into all that sizzle, which is certain to captivate students.

Included with this title:

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CHAPTER 1 • Introducing the Ancient Debate: The Ideal versus the Real
CHAPTER 2 • Why Government? Security, Anarchy, and Some Basic Group Dynamics
CHAPTER 3 • Governing Society: We Know Who You Are
CHAPTER 4 • Government’s Role in the Economy: The Offer You Can’t Refuse
CHAPTER 5 • Structures and Institutions
CHAPTER 6 • El Grande Loco Casa Blanca: The Executive (in Bad Spanish)
CHAPTER 7 • The Confederacy of Dunces: The Legislative Function (In Colorless English that is Grammatically Questionable and Subject to Ridicule)
CHAPTER 8 • Brazilian Bureaucracy: Do I Even Need to Bother with the Jokes?
CHAPTER 9 • Courts and Law: Politics behind the Gavel, Obviously, but What’s under the Gown?
CHAPTER 10 • Not Quite Right, but Still Good: The Democratic Ideal in Modern Politics
CHAPTER 11 • Media, Politics, and Government: Talking Heads Are Better Than None
CHAPTER 12 • International Politics: Apocalypse Now and Then
CHAPTER 13 • Secret Government: Spies, Lies, and Freedom Fries
CHAPTER 14 • The Politics of Culture: Sex and Agriculture, Getting Rucked Explains It All
CHAPTER 15 • The Lastest and Bestest Chapter: The Study of Politics


Instructor Resource Site
Online resources included with this text

The online resources for your text are available via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site, which offers access to all text-specific resources, including a test bank and editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides.

"If you would like students to understand hard political concepts, this work makes it accessible for them. By using pop culture, we can open ideological ideas and students are not bound by their own preconceived ideas."

Leah Murray
Weber State University

"I wish all Political Science texts were written by Van Belle!"

Kimberly J. H. Pace
University of Alaska Anchorage

"A very relatable text that covers a number of important concepts for students new to the study of political science."

Steven Moynihan
Cape Cod Community College

"An engaging way to teach Introduction to Political Science with unique use of pop culture examples."

Will Jennings
The University of Tennessee
Key features
  • Examples of the implications of the 2022 midterm elections and 2024 presidential campaign in the US and a broad range of pop culture references keep students captivated.
  • Updated figures, tables, and maps ensure students have the most current data.
  • The book's Fiction Appendix has been updated to capture all the new films, TV shows, games, and works of fiction added to the Seventh Edition.
  • The use of fictional examples allows instructors to increase the complexity and nuance of the political dynamics addressed and start classroom discussions that will make students want to participate.
  • Learning objectives called "Stuff to Remember" provide additional guidance.
  • "Spoiler Alerts" at the end of chapter introductions frame the discussion to come, keeping students focused on key points.
  • "We Call the Old Stuff Classics" and "We Call the New Stuff Popular Culture" features call out pivotal political philosophers, theorists, and assorted hipsters whose work continues to impact modern governments.

Sage College Publishing

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