Controlling Technocracy: Citizen Rationality and the NIMBY Syndrome

Controlling Technocracy: Citizen Rationality and the NIMBY Syndrome

by Gregory E. McAvoy

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Overview

Controlling Technocracy: Citizen Rationality and the NIMBY Syndrome by Gregory E. McAvoy

Disputes over hazardous waste sites usually are resolved by giving greater weight to expert opinion over public "not-in-my-back-yard" reactions. Challenging the assumption that policy experts are better able to discern the general welfare, Gregory E. McAvoy here proposes that citizen opinion and democratic dissent occupy a vital, constructive place in environmental policymaking.

McAvoy explores the issues of citizen rationality, the tension between democracy and technocracy, and the link between public opinion and policy in the case of an unsuccessful attempt to site a hazardous waste facility in Minnesota. He shows how the site was defeated by citizens who had reasonable doubts over the need for the facility.

Offering a comprehensive look at the policymaking process, McAvoy examines the motivations of public officials, the resources they have for shaping opinion, the influence of interest groups, and the evolution of waste reduction programs in Minnesota and other states. Integrating archival material, interviews, and quantitative survey data, he argues that NIMBY movements can bring miscalculations to light and provide an essential check on policy experts' often partisan views.

This book will be of value to those who work or study in the fields of hazardous waste policy, facility siting, environmental policy, public policy, public administration, and political science.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780878407415
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
Publication date: 11/28/1999
Series: American Governance and Public Policy Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 184
Product dimensions: 5.92(w) x 8.99(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Gregory E. McAvoy is an assistant professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Table of Contents

Prefaceix
Chapter 1Introduction1
Chapter 2Elite Policy Networks and Political Control in Policymaking21
Chapter 3The Strategic State: Hazardous Waste Siting Through Inducements and Persuasion59
Chapter 4State Officials and Citizens: The Siting Deadlock89
Chapter 5Democratic Governance and Policymaking123
Appendix A145
Appendix B147
Appendix C149
Bibliography151
Index163

What People are Saying About This

Boston Book Review

Challenges the assumptions behind the NIMBY interpretation of citizen-opposition, making a case for the virtues of democratic decision-making.… it is a welcome addition to the debate between experts and democrats. McAvoy's well-chosen case study suggests that we may not have to choose between two extremes.

Larry R. Jacobs

Challenges the widespread assumption that policy experts ‘know best’ on complex issues and ought to be accorded wide autonomy from citizens to pursue the ‘common good.’ McAvoy demonstrates that ‘expert’ answers rarely exist and that citizens can (and should) assert their values in challenging experts.

From the Publisher

"Challenges the assumptions behind the NIMBY interpretation of citizen-opposition, making a case for the virtues of democratic decision-making.… it is a welcome addition to the debate between experts and democrats. McAvoy's well-chosen case study suggests that we may not have to choose between two extremes." -- Boston Book Review

"Challenges the widespread assumption that policy experts 'know best' on complex issues and ought to be accorded wide autonomy from citizens to pursue the 'common good.' McAvoy demonstrates that 'expert' answers rarely exist and that citizens can (and should) assert their values in challenging experts." -- Larry R. Jacobs, associate professor of political science, University of Minnesota

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