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1 - Introduction

The Rise of a Policy State?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 November 2014

Jeffery A. Jenkins
University of Virginia
Sidney M. Milkis
University of Virginia
Jeffery A. Jenkins
University of Virginia
Sidney M. Milkis
University of Virginia
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This book grew out of a major conference at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs. Seeking to place scholarly attention to, and partisan disputes over, recent landmark policy in areas such as homeland security, health care, and financial markets in a broad theoretical and historical context, we convened a group of distinguished scholars to consider the politics of major programmatic reforms – specifically, courses of action aimed at dealing with perceived public problems – since the Second World War. The chapters that follow shed light not only on significant efforts to ameliorate perceived ills in domestic and foreign affairs, but also on systemic developments in American politics and government.

This time period corresponds with the emergence of what Karren Orren and Stephen Skowronek have termed a “policy state” – that is, a political order where policy choice has become a principal dimension of American government and politics. Of course, policy clashes have always been an important part of American politics. But the explosion of government responsibilities in foreign and domestic affairs, the emergence of programmatic political parties, and the formation of a dense network of advocacy groups and think tanks have made conflict over competing policies a defining feature of contemporary American politics.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2014

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