This book is a revised version of my dissertation and is
based on field work and interviews conducted in
1983-84. It addresses the topics of agenda-setting in the context of
educational policymaking in
during that period. In this study, I compared 30 particular cases of
educational policymaking, ranging from a few that were extremely controversial
(e.g., a plan to revise the relations between the state and the nation’s
private [Catholic] schools, one of the most controversial issues of the decade,
which sent over 1 million supporters and opponents to the streets during the
period of research; a plan to reform the universities; and a medical school
reform; all three of which were major controversies played out in the
newspapers and with extensive parliamentary intervention) to the bulk of
decisions that were made in a more technocratic manner. Through interviews with
civil servants, interest group representatives, and elected officials, I
demonstrate the strategies that individual policymakers used in order to push
the issue towards greater political controversy or towards a more technocratic
understanding of the issue. The book explores Schattschneider’s ideas of conflict expansion in some detail and focuses on the individual
strategies of policymakers who attempt to define the same issue in different
ways depending on where they believe their preferred outcome will be most
likely to be achieved. Ideas laid out in this book form the basis for much of
my subsequent work on agenda-setting in the
. In contrast to Agendas and Instability in American Politics, which relies on
secondary data sources and covers a long historical period, this book explores
similar ideas but focuses on the roles of interest group officials, the highest
level civil servants, politicians in Parliament and within the executive branch
and is largely based on interviews with these individuals.
Read some published reviews of the book:
- American Political
Science Review, 1990, by John Keeler.
- Journal of Politics,
1991, by David Wilsford.
- Social Science Quarterly 71, 4 (1990): 879, by Jurg Steiner
- Choice, 1990, by M. G. Roskin.
- International Review of Administrative Sciences, 49 (1993): 336-338, by Marie Widemanova
- The Public Historian 12, 3 (1990): 155-156, by David Mock. (Note: Negative review based on the book not being a history book.)
- Politiques et management public 8, 1 (1990): 157–159, by Luc Rouban. (review in French)
Purchase the book from The University of Pittsburgh Press; purhcase it from Amazon.