The University of Wisconsin Press



The Organizational State
Social Change in National Policy Domains
Edward O. Lauman and David Knoke

The Federal Government in the United States is a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Presidents are elected by popular vote in the nation (filtered through the electoral college), Senators are elected by popular vote in their states, and Representatives are elected by popular vote in their Congressional districts. Cabinet members and agency heads are appointed by the elected president, as are members of the Supreme Court.

But this says nothing about politics. Professor Lauman and Knoke have asked, in this book, how policies were made, in the period 1977-1980, in the areas of energy and health. The question is a very different one from the question of how the positions of president and Congress are filled.


The Organizational State is plainly and simply a path-breaking piece of social science research. It digs into the interstices of policy-making in the health and energy fields. While recognizing the macro-politics of controversy and research in areas ranging from strip-mining control, nuclear waste disposal, regulation and banning of drugs, medicare and medicaid funding, the beauty of this work is in its analysis of the micro-sociology of the policy environment.”—Irving Louis Horowitz, Hannah Arendt Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Political Science, Rutgers University


“This book has many merits, both empirical and theoretical. It is by far the most sophisticated research ever made on the politics that determines what the modern state actually does. It is a huge advance beyond the elite vs. pluralist, reputational vs. decision-making debates over power structures. By using network analysis and an organizational framework, Lauman and Knoke are able to show what sorts of actors have power over what kinds of decisions, as well as the constraints imposed by the nature of these large-scale networks themselves.” —Randall Collins, University of California, Riverside


At the time of publication, Edward Laumann was George Herbert Mead Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago and David Knoke was professor in the sociology department at the University of Minnesota.

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November 1987
LC: 87-040142 JK
560 pp.   6 x 9
30 tables, 59 figs
ISBN-10: 0-299-11194-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-299-11194-6
Paper $29.95 x

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