Title

The Policy Process and the American West: An Environmental Perspective

Document Type

Contribution to Books

Publication Date

2007

Abstract

Public policy making in the United States rests in a seemingly inexhaustible set of concepts and processes that have been described as predominantly "chaotic" (Birkland 2001, 3). The diligent student of American public policy must deal with the fact that public policy is said to be inclusive of all political activities and institutions, "from voting, political cultures, parties, legislatures, bureaucracies, international agencies, local governments, and back again, to the citizens who implement and evaluate public policies" (John 2003, 483). One must differentiate between federalism and separation of powers, between pluralism and elitism, and between fragmentation and incrementalism. Simply put, we are faced with the proposition that the sheer complexity of what is going on in public policy making precludes simple, straightforward, sequential explanations (John 2003).