ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT QUARTERLY / November 2001
forces, they take shape in response to challenges from the larger world, and this shape includes how members of the coalition are related to one another.
Atlanta’s biracial coalition, for example, can best be understood against a background of a Black struggle to dismantle a Jim Crow system that had been in place for a half century or more. The Atlanta story is in part a story of how the civil rights movement played out in an important city in the deep South. Business involvement in the biracial coalition took a particular character because corporate executives concerned with the impact of a changing transportation technology on the central business district saw a need to create and maintain a cohesive inner group—a group able to formulate and act on an urban redevelopment agenda. Within the African American com- munity, coalition building stemmed from recognition that a city-centered White business elite could provide leverage against the defenders of White domination, based largely in the state and region’s agricultural economy. For their part, Atlanta business leaders saw that an enfranchised Black population could be politically useful, particularly in overcoming resistance to changes in land use within the city (Stone, 1989).
I have briefly reviewed this history of the formation of Atlanta’s biracial coalition as a reminder that an urban regime is not simply a membership roster but involves a coalition held together by a set of arrangements and understandings. As stated in Regime Politics (Stone, 1989), a governing coalition is “the core group at the center of the workings of the regime” (p. 5). In identifying a regime, asking who needs to be complemented by asking how. The important question concerns not simply who makes up the inner group but how they are related to one another—the terms on which they cooperate and the resources they bring to bear on the task of governance (Stone, 1989, p. 6; 1993, p. 2).
As far back as the initial misinterpretations of Floyd Hunter’s Community Power Structure (1953), many observers have seen governance as who governs rather than as how governance is structured (structured not in a formal or legal sense but informally). But the very title of Hunter’s book points to his emphasis on “structural relations” (p. 75) and to his view that the “power of the individual must be structured into associational, clique, or institutional patterns to be effective” (p. 248). For Hunter and those who follow in his path, then, this process of structuring is a pivotal research concern (Abrams, 1982).
What, then, gives form to this structuring process? The division of labor between state and mar- ket is one factor, but important as it is, it is not a force sufficient unto itself. In my own work, I have argued that the “power of specific groups and the relationships between groups are likely to be shaped by the norms and traditions of the community” (Stone, 1987, p. 293). Consistent with the general thrust of Reese and Rosenfeld’s (2001) work, I (Stone, 1987) have also asserted that regime theory
holds that a governing coalition reflects the particulars of time and place as well as a general structural condition. The particulars of time and place involve many elements, but especially the complex ways in which community political and civic life is organized. (p. 291)
Like Reese and Rosenfeld (2001), I (Stone, 1987) believe that local history is important and “the present is shaped by the past” (p. 294). Clearly, Reese and Rosenfeld and I hold many common po- sitions, and a less narrow treatment of governing coalitions would bring that into the foreground.
Where we diverge most is over the centrality of the concept of civic culture to an understanding of local economic development policy. Civic culture, then, is the second count on which I would like to see extended discussion.
As used by Reese and Rosenfeld (2001), civic culture is a broad residual category. It is not oper- ationally defined, but we are told that it “embodies shared visions” and it includes “customs or pro- cesses.” At another point, it is equated with “a larger way of doing things” (p. 308) and is described as “the habitus of how interests are balanced, problems defined, symbols interpreted goals envi- sioned, and decisions made ” (p. 308). In other words, it includes or shapes just about everything that is interesting and thus is indeed a promising bearer of greater “wisdom.” But how exactly does it impinge on the making of policy and the managing of conflict around that policy? To say that the