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Policy and Politics in West Germany The Growth of a Semisoverign State by Peter J. Katzenstein

Policy and Politics in West Germany The Growth of a Semisoverign State


Policy and Politics in West Germany The Growth of a Semisoverign State by Peter J. Katzenstein

How can we account for the lack of large-scale policy change in West Germany despite changes in the partisan make-up of the federal government? This formulation of the German Question differs from the one commonly posed by students of German politics, a version usually focused on Germany's tragic confrontation with modernity and a possible revival of militarism and authoritarianism. Katzenstein here uncovers the political structures that make incremental policy change such a plausible political check against the growing force of government. This book examines in detail how West German policy and politics interrelate in six problem areas: economic management, industrial relations, social welfare, migrant workers, administrative reform, and university reform. Throughout these six case studies, Katzenstein suggests that West Germany's semi-sovereign state provides the answer to the German Question as it precludes the possibility of central authority. Coalition governments, federalism, para-public institutions, and the state bureaucracy are the domestic forces that have tamed power in the Federal Republic. Author note: Peter J. Katzenstein is Professor of Government at Cornell University, as well as a former editor of International Organization.


Admirably clear and well written from a new viewpoint, this is the best informed and most thoughtful analysis of the political system of West Germany. Anyone seriously interested in the German Federal Republic should read it. - Karl Deutsch, Stanfield Professor of International Peace, Harvard Emeritus

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Book Info

Publication date

1st May 1987


Peter J. Katzenstein

More books by Peter J. Katzenstein
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Temple University Press,U.S.


464 pages


Political structure & processes
European history
Second World War



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