West European Studies | Comparative Public Policy
W605 | 4203 | Furniss

Prof N. Furniss   1:30-3:30p   T   WH 205
Obtain online authorization from department

In outlining the intellectual orientation of this seminar, it is
useful to begin with the statement of Elliot Feldman that "the
introduction of comparison into the analsyis of public policy
promises to expand the range of choice available to societies whose
perception of choice may be bounded...and it promises to be an
embracing theory for politics, as well as policy, because comparison
helps establish norms of judgment and helps distinguish the essential
from the trivial.” We will explore the extent to which these promises
have been and could be realized. Our major focus will be on
approaches or perspectives designed to increase our knowledge of
public policy.
We will begin with an effort to delineate the boundaries of the
field. What do we mean by “comparison”? What do we mean by “policy”?
What are some of the major issues of the “comparative method”? Next,
we will examine approaches useful to comparative policy studies. All
in different ways concern the relationship between action (“actors”)
and institutions. With each approach we will consider a major policy
issue. In the final section we will examine all too briefly the
question of what might be the possible benefits of studying public
I would be pleased to discuss details on readings and assignments