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Artists of the Possible: Governing Networks and American Policy Change since 1945 (Studies in Postwar American Political Development) 1st Edition

ISBN-13: 978-0199967841
ISBN-10: 0199967849
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Matt Grossmann's insightful and convincing new book... [is] an excellent choice... In addition to the incredible amount of data collection it represents, the author's careful and convincing rebuttal of existing theories using a variety of methodologies, and his use of network analysis to identify governing networks, is impressive and persuasive. The writing is also very strong, making it an enjoyable read... Artists of the Possible is a major achievement... an absolute must-read for anyone interested in public policy - or, for that matter, American politics."
- Matthew Green in The Forum.

"This theoretically and empirically rich book... asks, where does policy change come from?... Elections, the media, and public opinion are not major drivers of policy change. Usually, policy change in any given policy area is primarily the result of negotiation, compromise, and cooperation among elites, especially long-serving legislators, the president, and interest group lobbyists... the analysis raises troubling questions about the nature of American democracy and the role of the public within it. Summing Up: Highly recommended." - Anthony J. Nownes, University of Tennessee, in Choice

"Artists of the Possible raises the bar for studies of the politics of policymaking-American or otherwise...The book also sets Grossmann apart as both social theorist and contributor to the field... Grossmann's theoretical innovation is matched, if not exceeded, by the book's empirical accomplishment... What emerges from this Herculean effort is a rich portrait of American policymaking" - Philip Rocco, University of California, Berkeley, in Public Administration

 
"Matt Grossmann's new book provides a systematic contribution to our understanding of the dynamics of policy change... The strength of the author's use of policy histories is the breadth and depth of analysis of important episodes of policy change that have not heretofore been synthesized... we must applaud Grossmann for moving the study of policy formation forward through a novel database and for the questions and puzzles raised"
- Paul Posner, George Mason University, in Perspectives on Politics


"Matt Grossman offers a compelling and holistic analysis of American federal domestic policymaking since 1945...The strength of the argument is bested perhaps only by his comprehensive collection of data and meticulous empirical analysis...His contribution is twofold, offering original insights as well as data that will be of use to scholars for years to come...The work is an undoubtedly invaluable contribution to the literature on policy change, even if the findings are at odds with our hopes for democracy."
- Dino Christenson, Boston University, in Political Science Quarterly

"[Grossmann] provides insightful criticism of the existing scholarship, proposes his own theory of policy change, and systematically analyzes the existing policy history literature using network analysis...I commend Grossman for writing a stimulating study by employing innovative methods to critique the literature, posit a theory of policy-making, and suggest real limitations exist for those attempting to build theory."
- Jeremy Johnson in The Forum.



"This book is a significant contribution to policy studies. It is rooted in vast, meticulous research, and its 'governing networks' motif works out nicely. It throws an original light on the American policy explosion of the 1960s and 1970s." --David R. Mayhew, Sterling Professor of Political Science, Yale University


"Why does government do what it does? If Matt Grossmann is right, voters, elections, polls, and the media matter less than you think, and elite networks matter more. This data-driven book maps-quite literally-the internal dynamics that govern the networks that govern the rest of us. Its arguments will intrigue and often provoke conservatives and liberals alike." --Jonathan Rauch, Contributing Editor, National Journal and the Atlantic


"Artists of the Possible is certain to attract scholarly attention, spark debate, and spur new theorizing and research on American policymaking. Grossmann builds a new data set from hundreds of policy histories to challenge major approaches to understanding policy change and to formulate an alternative argument, one that raises fascinating and troubling questions about democratic government." --Thomas Mann, co-author of It's Even Worse Than It Looks


"Artists of the Possible is a major achievement. Using a unique data set, intelligent analyses, and careful consideration of how policy is crafted, Grossmann makes a compelling case that governing networks are critical to the policy-making equation. ...an absolute must-read for anyone interested in public policy - or, for that matter, American politics." -The Forum


About the Author


Matt Grossmann is Director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research and Associate Professor of Political Science at Michigan State University and author of The Not-So-Special Interests.
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