Two Concepts of ‘Politicization’
Recent discussions of public affairs have frequently pointed to a ‘politicization’ of institutions, groups, and issues, such as the universities, the young and the black, and the quality of life. Insight into the concept of ‘politicization’ is often prevented by personal positions on the issues (or sympathies for particular parties to the dispute in question, or general psychic postures on political questions in general) and thus insight into the issues themselves is often obscured by narrow or unidirectional interpretation. In this essay I propose to identify and explore the meanings and nuances involved in the concept. I suggest, first, that there are two conflicting meanings of the term in use, and second, that the very use of the term, in either meaning, tends to take a position on several inevitable important problems of political of policy analysis.
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