University Of Tasmania
whole_HomeshawJudithElizabeth1994_thesis.pdf (28.96 MB)

The transition in Australian science policy, 1965-1990

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posted on 2023-05-26, 20:43 authored by Homeshaw, Judith Elizabeth
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.


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

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