TitlePath divergence within critical junctures
NameCoolidge, Louise Marie (author), Kubik, Jan (chair), Wilson, Richard (internal member), Callaway, Barbara (internal member), Tichenor, Daniel (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Poland--Politics and government--1945-1980,
United States--Politics and government--1963-1969,
Spain--Politics and government--1975-1982
DescriptionInstitutions exert an overwhelming pressure towards maintaining existing power structures. However, during critical junctures, reformers have a window of opportunity to enact sweeping changes. Poland in 1956, the U.S. in 1963, and Spain in 1974 experienced deaths of their leaders. New heads of state assumed power. Each new leader attempted to change the dynamics of current power relationships by empowering heretofore unempowered groups. The new leader has to adapt to the exigencies of the controlling groups -- power centers -- within the polity. Bureaucracies and institutions embedded in government and society exert their own pressures, aimed at maintaining their power by stifling the air of change. Wladysław Gomułka, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Poland, allowed Workers Councils to organize in factories, giving workers a voice in management. Lyndon Baines Johnson, President of the United States, launched the War on Poverty, which included community action programs intended to empower the poor. King Juan Carlos I was Franco’s named heir to the throne, with the express mission of continuing the Franquist regime. Instead, he initiated a transition to a democracy.
In each case, success for the reform leader’s agenda was reliant on his careful control over when each power center had access to reform policies. Dominating the sequence allowed the reform leader to build coalitions among enough power centers to offset oppositional groups. The perceived legitimacy of the new leader was paramount in overcoming unpredictable events and mistakes made by well-meaning agents that would affect the progress of reform. Once the various institutions settled into newly-established patterns, the critical juncture ended and more change became nearly impossible to enact. Comparative historical analysis of the three cases yields results that are a complex interweaving of the several factors that impacted the success or failure of change.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 251-265)
Noteby Louise Marie Coolidge
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work