Environmental Quality Analysis: Theory and Method in the Social Sciences

By Allen V. Kneese; Blair T. Bower et al. | Go to book overview

Power Structure Studies and Environmental
Management: The Study of Powerful Urban
10. Problem-Oriented Leaders in Northeastern
Megalopolis

Delbert C. Miller

Community-power research has progressed through three identifiable stages. The first stage was characterized by case studies of American communities and the various uses of positional, reputational, and issue-decisional methods of identifying influential leaders and decision-making processes. Stage two began with the appearance of comparative studies, both intranational and international. In both stages, emphasis was upon the structure and functioning of the community qua community. It was marked especially in stage two by the combined use of two or more methods of identifying influential leaders and associations. Usually, the reputational and issue-decisional methods were selected. The issues were those considered by community judges to be the most important. It mattered little what the issues were. The researcher simply wanted salient issues in order to identify community leaders and the contours of community decision-making processes.

Stage three has emerged in recent years and is characterized by a focus on power relations as centered on a specific problem, issue, or community decision organization. The issue is now one that arrests the specific attention of the researcher because of the nature of the issue or problem. Stage three can be illustrated by the work of some current researchers. Terry N. Clark of the University of Chicago has published his study of the relation among community structure, decision making, budget expenditures, and urban renewal in fifty-one American communities. Roland L. Warren of Brandeis University is conducting research on community decision organizations (urban renewal authority, health and welfare council, board of education, antipoverty organization, mental health planning board, and

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