Social Science Metapolicy

Some Concepts and Applications

by Yehezkel Dror


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Prepared as background material for the International Social Science Council Conference on Social Science Policy, Paris, April 1970, this paper presents some concepts for the formulation of social science policy issues and their examination. Metapolicies (policies on how to make policies) deal with (1) the characteristics of policymaking systems (structure, process patterns, personnel, inputs, and stipulated outputs) and (2) master policies (strategies, overall goals, basic assumptions, conceptual frameworks, policy instruments, and similar interpolicy directives). One of the main utilities of the concept of metapolicy is to stimulate research, study, contemplation, design, and analysis focusing explicitly on the metapolicy level. The goal of policy sciences is mainly instrumental-normative policymaking improvement, within the boundaries of morally acceptable values. The overall main conclusion is that every concern with social science policy should devote considerable attention to explicit consideration of social science metapolicy issues.

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