Policy Alienation and the Power of Professionals
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Policy Alienation and the Power of Professionals

Confronting New Policies

Lars Tummers

This eloquent book by Lars Tummers develops a framework to understand these important issues with policy implementation, using the innovative concept of ‘policy alienation’. Policies in healthcare, social security, and education are analyzed. The conclusions challenge the common assertions regarding the reasons why professionals resist policies. For instance, the impact of professional influence, often viewed as an end in itself, is nuanced. Lars Tummers reveals that it is far more important for professionals that a policy is meaningful for society and for their clients, than they have an influence in its shaping.
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Chapter 2: An historical background of alienation

Confronting New Policies

Lars Tummers


The goal of this chapter is to provide a historical overview of the alienation concept. This will help in understanding it, and in constructing a well-grounded definition of policy alienation. It provides the backbone for Chapter 3, in which I will develop the policy alienation concept. The first section introduces the alienation concept by examining its linguistic, theological, and political usages. Following this, I consider the ‘founding fathers’ of alienation: George Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel and Karl Marx. Next, I discuss two leading scholars from the ‘Frankfurter Schule’: Erich Fromm and Herbert Marcuse, who studied the works of Hegel and Marx and then used the alienation concept to discuss the alienating tendencies in the Western society of the 1950s and 1960s. One remark should be made here. Given the abundance of literature and the intrinsic difficulties with the alienation concept (such as the different philosophical meanings attached to it by Hegel as well as criticisms of these interpretations), it is impossible to provide a full historical analysis of the term in this chapter.

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