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date: 28 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Lowi’s paper, considered in this chapter, is an acknowledged classic. But this begs the question of what “classic” status amounts to. The chapter examines competing conceptions of “classicism.” It then sketches the intellectual background to Lowi’s work, examines the impact of the piece in the conventional language of bibliometric analysis, and analyzes the intellectual coherence of Lowi’s arguments. It shows how Lowi’s intervention was a significant dissent from two dominant forms of political analysis: that popularized by Dahl and the behavioralists; and that associated with the institutional analyses of power promoted by Wright Mills. But it argues that the “classic” status of Lowi’s work consisted of its respectful recognition as a document in the history of the discipline, rather than amounting to any enduring influence on modern political analysis.

Keywords: Theodore Lowi, business, public policy, case studies, political theory, pluralism, policies, politics, policy studies

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