The Policy Sciences of Harold Lasswell

Contextual Orientation and the Critical Dimension

Douglas Torgerson ,

 
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The Policy Sciences of Harold Lasswell: Contextual Orientation and the Critical Dimension

About the eBook

Illuminating and timely, this book offers an in depth exploration of a 20th century intellectual landmark, Harold Lasswell’s proposal for the policy sciences. This proposal, though always controversial, stands out as a unique and comprehensive effort at advancing a policy focus in the social sciences by means of enhancing orientation to context.



Douglas Torgerson argues that Lasswell stands apart in the policy landscape, his extraordinary focus on context constituting a distinct critical dimension. Torgerson presents the historical emergence of Lasswell’s proposal as a four-phase process, ranging from the 1920s to the 1970s. Chapters explore the ramifications of Lasswell’s contextual focus in that, whatever his intention, he anticipated a radical democratic goal. In today’s world, as authoritarian populism threatens democracy, policy research can no longer take for granted a liberal democratic context. Researchers must protect free inquiry, safeguarding their own work while expanding and securing democratic freedoms.



Offering key insights into one of the 20th century’s most forward-looking political scientists, this book is essential reading for the full range of established scholars, policy professionals, graduate students, and everyone who is interested in the relationship between policy and political theory.

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