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The transition in Australian science policy, 1965-1990

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Homeshaw, Judith Elizabeth (1994) The transition in Australian science policy, 1965-1990. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The thesis is an explanation of the transformation of science policy in Australia
between 1965 and 1990 using analytical constructs from policy analysis and political
sociology to examine the way in which cultural, political, social and economic factors
have influenced the course of decision-making about the production and application of
scientific knowledge.
During these years science policy in Australia changed from being driven
principally by notions of the creation and transmission of knowledge to being
concerned with questions of economic production. Until the 1980s change was
incremental rather than radical due to the conservatism of interest groups, the political
ideology of significant actors in the policy community, and the political passivity of
scientists.
In 1965 the production of scientificknowledge took place in the universities and
a few large public research organisations and was extemally non-accountable in terms
of the utility of the knowledge produced. By 1990 the production of scientific
knowledge has become the keystone of the government's hopes for turning Australia
into a 'clever country' with the production of economic wealth based on knowledge
and 'know-how' rather than raw materials. The rationale for the change is basically
economic: scientific knowledge is considered necessary to supply the innovations
upon which a broader system of economic production is to be based.
This change has brought into focus the relationship between the political system
and the scientific system which forms the core of the science policy process.
Politicisation of the science system occurs as the scientific community is drawn into
the policy-making process and interaction between the two systems is formalised in
new techno-political agencies. The organisation of the production of scientific
knowledge, once the province of autonomous scientists, is increasingly under the
control of central, corporatised political agencies.
A policy community approach, supplemented by concepts of power is the main
analytical tool. This approach explains policy formulation and outcomes in terms of
the interactions of interest groups. A policy community is seen as that part of a
political system that - by virtue of its functional responsibilities, vested interests and
specialised knowledge - acquires a dominant voice in determining government
decisions in a specific field of government activity, and is generally permitted by
society at large, and the public authorities in particular, to do so. Power is exercised
in the policy community by organised interests with the capacity to control the
resources, rules and ideas which underlie action in the policy arena. The dynamic
which underlies action in the science policy community is that of the exchange of
knowledge, resources and legitimacy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Science and state, Research
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Library has additional copy on microfiche. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1994. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2014 02:31
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:55
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