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NCJ Number: 51655 Find in a Library
Title: POLITICAL SCIENCE AND POLICY STUDIES - TOWARD A STRUCTURAL SOLUTION (FROM POLICY STUDIES - REVIEW ANNUAL, V2, 1978, BY HOWARD E FREEMAN - SEE NCJ-51647)
Author(s): D E ASHFORD
Corporate Author: Sage Publications, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: TRADITIONAL METHODS OF STUDYING GOVERNMENT POLICY ARE CRITICIZED AND AN APPROACH IS PROPOSED THAT TAKES INTO ACCOUNT THE INSTITUTIONAL SIZE AND COMPLEXITY OF THE MODERN STATE.
Abstract: IN THIS PRESENTATION 'POLICY' DEALS WITH 'HOW THE STATE ORGANIZES ITSELF TO ATTACK NEW PROBLEMS IN SOCIETY, HOW IT SORTS SUCH PROBLEMS, AND HOW THESE ARRIVE ON THE AGENDA.' THE GROWTH AND INCREASED COMPLEXITY OF STATE ACTIVITY IS BELIEVED TO WARRANT A NEW APPROACH TO POLICY ANALYSIS. IT IS MAINTAINED THAT POLITICAL SCIENTISTS HAVE BEEN SLOW TO DEVELOP ALTERNATIVE PARADIGMS FOR POLICY ANALYSIS BECAUSE THEY HAVE CONFINED THEMSELVES TO THE ECONOMIST'S BASIC UNIT OF ANALYSIS, THE INDIVIDUAL. THE CURRENT CENTRAL ISSUE FOR POLICY STUDIES IS INDICATED TO BE WHETHER THE ACTIVITIES OF THE STATE CAN BEST BE ANALYZED USING THE INDIVIDUAL AS THE PRIMARY UNIT OF ANALYSIS, RELYING LARGELY ON STATISTICAL AND BEHAVIORAL DEVICES TO AGGREGATE OBSERVATIONS; OR, WHETHER STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS SHOULD BE USED AS A MEANS OF STUDYING COLLECTIVE ACTIVITY THAT AFFECTS A NUMBER OF UNITS OF BEHAVIOR, WHILE HAVING A NUMBER OF LEVELS OF INTERACTION. TRADITIONAL APPROACHES TO POLICY ANALYSIS, WHICH EMPHASIZE RESULT AS THE POLICY'S MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT, ARE DESCRIBED AND CRITICIZED. WHILE SUCH AN APPROACH IS DEEMED TO BE VALUABLE WITHIN CERTAIN LIMITATIONS, IT IS CONSIDERED TO BE INADEQUATE IN DEALING WITH POLICY ACTIVITY IN THE MODERN STATE. THE STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS OF POLICY ADVOCATED VIEWS 'PLAUSIBILITY' TO BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN 'RESULT.' THE FOCUS ON 'PLAUSIBILITY' IN POLICY ANALYSIS MEANS THAT THE ACCEPTABILITY, WORKABILITY, AND SUPPORT ASSOCIATED WITH CERTAIN ACTIONS ARE PERCEIVED AS IMPORTANT CRITERIA IN DETERMINING STATE POLICY. THIS FOCUS IS CONSIDERED TO NECESSITATE A STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS THAT FORMULATES STRUCTURAL RELATIONSHIPS IN ORDER TO LINK POLICIES TO INSTITUTIONAL NEEDS. SUCH AN ANALYSIS WOULD ENDEAVOR TO EXPLAIN HOW OBJECTIVES OVERLAP IN A VARIETY OF INSTITUTIONS, HOW INSTITUTIONAL CONSTRAINTS AFFECT POLICY CHOICE, AND HOW INSTITUTIONS ACCOMODATE NEW VALUES AND INTERESTS. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Analysis; Policy; Political influences; Sociology
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS. REPRINTED FROM POLICY STUDIES JOURNAL, V 5 (1977), P 570-583
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51655

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