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FROM CORPORATE LIBERALISM TO NEOLIBERALISM: A HISTORY OF AMERICAN THINK TANKS

Tevelow, Amos Abraham (2007) FROM CORPORATE LIBERALISM TO NEOLIBERALISM: A HISTORY OF AMERICAN THINK TANKS. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.

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    Abstract

    The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit public policy organizations constituted by section 501c3 of the U.S. Tax Code ("think tanks", TTs or "tanks") monitor and adjust governance norms and networks by using research, analysis, and advocacy to structure discourse about social problems and solutions among multiple elites and in the popular imagination. Through conversation, public communication, participation in government commissions and committees, and other methods, tanks strive to keep certain ideas alive (or at bay) until a particular policy idea becomes politically feasible and persuasive. Thirty-four case studies illustrate TT roles in constructing two basic policy regimes in 20th century America, corporate liberalism and neoliberalism. The two policy regimes are contingent discursive achievements, reflected in the adaptations in the modalities and rhetoric of think tanks in relation to dynamic processes of capitalist development, crisis, realignment, and consolidation. The cases show that while TTs generally function to contain and co-opt radical political economic ideas and social impulses, they are are not able to stitch interests seamlessly into state policy. Rather, social and economic crises, the changing demands and forms of the economy and the state, the actions of other actors, and other forces function to constrain the appeal of a given discourse or institution, so much so that individual tanks can drift from one ideological pole to another over time in reaction to these forces. These forces can also enable think tanks to exert discourse as an autonomous power that transcends the material constraints of the organizations themselves.


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    Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
    Creators/Authors:
    CreatorsEmailORCID
    Tevelow, Amos Abrahamamostevelow@yahoo.com
    ETD Committee:
    ETD Committee TypeCommittee MemberEmailORCID
    Committee ChairLyne, Johnjlyne@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberStabile, Carolcstabile@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberArac, Jonathanja2007@columbia.edu
    Committee MemberBove, Paulbove@pitt.edu
    Title: FROM CORPORATE LIBERALISM TO NEOLIBERALISM: A HISTORY OF AMERICAN THINK TANKS
    Status: Unpublished
    Abstract: The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit public policy organizations constituted by section 501c3 of the U.S. Tax Code ("think tanks", TTs or "tanks") monitor and adjust governance norms and networks by using research, analysis, and advocacy to structure discourse about social problems and solutions among multiple elites and in the popular imagination. Through conversation, public communication, participation in government commissions and committees, and other methods, tanks strive to keep certain ideas alive (or at bay) until a particular policy idea becomes politically feasible and persuasive. Thirty-four case studies illustrate TT roles in constructing two basic policy regimes in 20th century America, corporate liberalism and neoliberalism. The two policy regimes are contingent discursive achievements, reflected in the adaptations in the modalities and rhetoric of think tanks in relation to dynamic processes of capitalist development, crisis, realignment, and consolidation. The cases show that while TTs generally function to contain and co-opt radical political economic ideas and social impulses, they are are not able to stitch interests seamlessly into state policy. Rather, social and economic crises, the changing demands and forms of the economy and the state, the actions of other actors, and other forces function to constrain the appeal of a given discourse or institution, so much so that individual tanks can drift from one ideological pole to another over time in reaction to these forces. These forces can also enable think tanks to exert discourse as an autonomous power that transcends the material constraints of the organizations themselves.
    Date: 19 October 2007
    Date Type: Completion
    Defense Date: 20 April 2005
    Approval Date: 19 October 2007
    Submission Date: 19 August 2005
    Access Restriction: No restriction; The work is available for access worldwide immediately.
    Patent pending: No
    Institution: University of Pittsburgh
    Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
    Refereed: Yes
    Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
    URN: etd-08192005-162045
    Uncontrolled Keywords: American studies; cultural studies; expertise; institutional history; intellectual history; mass communications; media studies; policy sciences; policy scientists; political planning; political science; public policy; research institutes; rhetoric; structuration; nonprofit organizations; political sociology
    Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Communication: Rhetoric and Communication
    Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 15:00
    Last Modified: 27 Apr 2012 13:07
    Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-08192005-162045/, etd-08192005-162045

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