Thus, the period of American history since the middle of the 20 th century can be seen as characterized by yet another system of democracy, in which the political and economic variables have been jumbled up and rearranged in comparison with previous eras. And it is a system that continues to be shaped by factors of race and class, not to mention gender, region, and others. What are the relationships between the political, economic, and social dimensions of this incarnation of American democracy? How do they reflect aspects of continuity and change? Has it been superseded by another set of arrangements or priorities or ideologies? What does "democracy" mean today and to what extent do individuals or groups have the power to make or influence decisions that affect their lives? These questions make excellent topics for discussion.