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The Obama administration: what can social science offer?

Davies, P. and Hill, D. and Rudalevige, A. and Edwards III, G.C. and Virden, J. and Singh, Robert S. (2009) The Obama administration: what can social science offer? Twenty-First Century Society 4 (3), pp. 319-345. ISSN 1745-0144.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17450140903197401

Abstract

This paper reports on the 2009 Academy of Social Sciences annual debate about prospects for the new United States administration. Just half way into the 'first hundred days' of President Barack Obama's term, a panel of social scientists, convened by Philip Davies, Director of the British Library's Eccles Centre for American Studies, addressed the question of what social science could offer the new president in various areas of policy and government action. Each of the panellists was offered the opportunity to revisit their presentations in the light of the discussion that took place, and this paper brings these thoughts together. Dilys Hill introduces the contributions with an overview commentary on the debate contributions. Andrew Rudalevige's analysis of the scholarship on managing the presidency leads him to state that 'Presidential leadership lies … in garnering the benefits of centralising without losing the wider expertise brought to bear by a decentralised process. Herein—somewhere!—lies the holy grail of Cabinet Government, American-style.' George C. Edwards examines presidential strategies for government with the conclusion that 'Rather than creating the conditions for important shifts in public policy, such as moving public opinion in their direction, effective leaders are the less heroic facilitators who work at the margins of coalition building to recognise and exploit opportunities in their environments.' Jenel Virden points out that in 2008 the percentage and numerical turnout of women was higher than that for men; women voted more for Obama than did men; and they were strongly hopeful that under the new administration prospects would improve. Having engaged so successfully with this sector of the population, the Obama Administration is under pressure to recognise and address its needs. Robert Singh points out that there are necessary reservations about the utility of social science in informing an Obama foreign policy, but nonetheless elaborates three propositions and seven principles that could usefully frame the administration's approach.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Politics
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2011 15:01
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:18
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/2167

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