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The Politics of Problem Definition: Shaping the Policy Agenda / Edition 1

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Overview

At the nexus of politics and policy development lies persistent conflict over where problems come from, what they signify, and, based on the answers to those questions, what kinds of solutions should be sought. Policy researchers call this process "problem definition."

Written for both scholars and students, this book explains how and why social issues come to be defined in different ways, how these definitions are expressed in the world of politics, and what consequences these definitions have for government action and agenda-setting dynamics. The authors demonstrate in two theoretical chapters and seven provocative case studies how problem definition affects policymaking for high-profile social issues like AIDS, drugs, and sexual harassment as well as for problems like traffic congestion, plant closings, agricultural tax benefits, and air transportation.

By examining the way social problems are framed for political discussion, the authors illuminate the unique impact of beliefs, values, ideas, and language on the public policymaking process and its outcomes. In so doing, they establish a common vocabulary for the study of problem definition; review and critique the insights of existing work on the topic; and identify directions for future research.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Presents nine essays in problem definition--how public issues are chosen and identified and how policymakers and the media think and talk about them--for students and policy researchers. Introduces basic concepts, sets out central propositions concerning the relationship between specific definitional forms and agenda access and policy formulation, and includes policymaking histories encompassing issues such as sexual harassment, drugs, agriculture, and AIDS. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700606474
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 9/28/1994
  • Series: Studies in Government and Public Policy
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 226
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface

1. Problem Definition: An Emerging Perspective, David A. Rochefort and Roger W. Cobb

2. Plant Closings, Community Definitions, and the Local Response, John Portz

3. Attention, Boundary Effects, and Large-Scale Policy Change in Air Transportation Policy, Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones

4. Sexual Harassment: A Defining Moment and Its Repercussions, Ellen Frankel Paul

5. Paradoxes of National Antidrug Policymaking, Elaine B. Sharp

6. Problem Definition and Special Interest Politics in Tax Policy and Agriculture, Gary Mucciaroni

7. The Tragedy of the Concrete Commons: Defining Traffic Congestion as a Public Problem, Joseph F. Coughlin

8. Instrumental versus Expressive Definitions of AIDS Policymaking, David A. Rochefort and Roger W. Cobb

9. The Contextual Bases of Problem Definition, Christopher J. Bosso

Contributors

Index

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