Theoretical Issues in Policy Analysis

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SUNY Press, 1988 - Social Science - 287 pages
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What is the relation between policy analysis and political decision-making? Is the policy analyst a handmaiden of democracy or an agent of technocracy? Do recent debates in the policy literature illuminate or obfuscate these issues? What analytic techniques are available to resolve such questions?

This study considers the nature of policy inquiry in detail and explores norms and theoretical assumptions seldom subjected to scrutiny. The author demonstrates how conceptual presuppositions and methodological commitments have constricted our understanding of political problems and so hindered prescriptions for viable policy options.

Proposed here is an alternative framework for policy inquiry that is both pragmatic and sophisticated. Hawkesworth considers the implications of this alternative model in a series of case studies that addresses important foreign and domestic policy issues. The epistemic and practical criticisms presented in this study provide new direction for the field of policy studies.
 

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Contents

Introduction Unresolved Problems of an Unacknowledged Tradition
1
Policy Analysis Images and Issues
11
Separate Spheres On the Institutionalization of a Dichotomy
36
The Fallacy of False Alternatives
73
Identifying and Assessing Theoretical Presuppositions The Case of Affirmative Action
95
Theoretical Presuppositions and the Problem of Explanation The Case of Kampuchea
123
Theoretical Presuppositions and Policy Predictions The Case of Human Rights
145
The Political Cast of Policy Presuppositions The Case of Workfare
169
Science Scientism and Democracy A Return to the Theoretical Issues
184
Notes
195
Bibliography
265
Index
283
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About the author (1988)

M. E. Hawkesworth is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Louisville.

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