Introduction to Political Science: Civic and Social Innovation

Product Details
Author(s): Marla Parker, Dmitri Seals
ISBN: 9781644961308
Edition: 1
Copyright: 2019
Available Formats
Format: GRLContent (online access)



Overview of
Introduction to Political Science: Civic and Social Innovation


Topics Covered in the Book

The following topics covered intended to address the elements and connections noted in the political landscape and provide students with foundational insights for addressing complex issues. These topics are from the table of contents, but you’ll notice that questions are provided, which are intended to help you immediately connect with what will be covered—all leading to the creation of your civic and social innovation!

  • Government Foundations & Ideology: Why government and what does it have to do with me?
  • Policy Making, Interpreting & Enforcing: Why do we have policies in politics, what are the processes involved with them what is my role in these processes?
  • Branches, Checks and Balances in Federal Government: How is the federal government structure, what is it responsible for, how does it work, what are its limitations and how am I connected to it?
  • Relationships between scales: What is the role of and relationships between federal, state and local governments and how does that impact me?
  • Narratives, Facts and Accountability: How does media work, why does it matter for government and how can be a better consumer of information from the media?
  • Assessing policy issues in local context: How do I understand wicked problems in ways that matter for me and my community so I can start to address them?
  • Design Thinking: How can I use design thinking?
  • Bringing it together: How do I bring all of this information together to create a solution to the problem I’m interested in addressing?

About the Author
Marla Parker

Dr. Parker is a professor, academic researcher, consultant and author with nearly 20 years of success in the public and private sectors. Her broad areas of expertise include academic research, social responsibility, diversity, inclusion, teaching, STEM policy, community outreach, conflict management, and strategic planning. Throughout her career, Marla has held teaching and research positions at top academic institutions including California State University-Los Angeles, Arizona State University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition, Marla is a co-founder of the Civic and Social Innovation Group at California State University-Los Angeles, which promotes creative approaches to social change. As a teacher and academic researcher, Marla has developed new approaches to leadership development and employee training. She has co-authored and contributed to over 30 publications, conference proceedings, and trainings. She also assists small nonprofits and startups focused on launching and leading social responsibility, diversity, inclusion, change management, strategic planning, and public/private alignment initiatives. Marla holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan, as well as master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago (both in public administration). She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Arizona State University’s Center for Organizational Research and Design.

About the Author
Dmitri Seals

Dmitri Seals began his career as a public school teacher in Washington, DC, where he developed a lifelong passion for community-led, research-based social justice work that equips people to analyze the problems that face them, design their own interventions, and follow through to secure lasting change. Working as a volunteer during his doctoral studies in sociology at UC Berkeley, he founded the Bay Area Urban Debate League program in Oakland, served as a board member in its first three years, and ultimately helped the organization become financially sustainable and double the reach of its programs as Executive Director. He then founded the Silicon Valley Urban Debate League in San Jose, building it into a regional leader in youth development and crafting a set of strategies and tools for school partnership, teacher professional development, and youth-led education reform that have been modeled nationally.


Dmitri joined the sociology department at California State University, Los Angeles in 2017. Shortly after, he co-founded the Civic and Social Innovation Group along with Dr. Marla Parker to help students bridge the gap between academic learning and meaningful careers as agents of social change. He is a recipient of the UC Chancellor's Award for Public Service and the Making Democracy Work Award from the Oakland League of Women Voters.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Government Foundations: Why Government and What Does It Have to Do With Me?

Chapter 2: Public Policy: Civic Innovation via the Social Contract

Chapter 3: Innovation through Branches of Government

Chapter 4: Scales of Government: Local, State, National Introduction

Chapter 5: Media and Government: Influencing Narratives, Facts, and Policy

Chapter 6: Assessing Policy Issues in Local Context—Levers of Power

Chapter 7: Processes of Innovation: Making Meaningful Change

Chapter 8: Innovating for Social and Civic Change: Voting and Beyond