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The Substance of RepresentationCongress, American Political Development, and Lawmaking$
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John S. Lapinski

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691137810

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691137810.001.0001

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At the Crossroads: Policy Issue Substance, Congress, and American Political Development

At the Crossroads: Policy Issue Substance, Congress, and American Political Development

Chapter:
(p.150) Chapter VII At the Crossroads: Policy Issue Substance, Congress, and American Political Development
Source:
The Substance of Representation
Author(s):

John S. Lapinski

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691137810.003.0007

This chapter makes a final case that policy issue substance is critical for understanding contemporary and historical lawmaking. Neglecting the direct study of policy issue substance has unnecessarily weakened and stunted progress in the research programs of Congress and American political development. Additionally, Congress scholars generally prefer to engage in what is referred to as “normal science”—making steady but incremental progress towards the goal, instead of chasing big and potentially intractable ideas. Policy issue substance is unquestionably a big idea, and the chapter seeks to demonstrate that it is possible to pursue big ideas while still making solid, incremental progress in understanding lawmaking and political behavior.

Keywords:   policy issue substance, contemporary lawmaking, U.S. Congress, American political development, normal science, political behavior

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