Regressive Intervention in Contemporary Theory and Research

  • Sam D. Sieber
Part of the Environment, Development, and Public Policy Public Policy and Social Services book series (EDPP)


In this chapter I will try to show that the idea of regressive intervention has not been accorded the attention by contemporary social science that it deserves. At the same time, I will suggest that research and theory in several domains have, wittingly or not, laid the foundations for a systematic treatment of the idea. In particular, I will be concerned with the place of reverse effects, first, in the writings of Merton and a few other social theorists who have addressed themselves to unanticipated consequences, and second, in the specific fields of planned organizational change, evaluation research, and social problems. By no means is it my intention to cover these fields in depth, but instead to search for certain global clues that indicate the way in which reverse effects have been customarily dealt with. I have relied heavily, therefore, on overviews of these fields and on the work of a few leading exemplars.


Social Problem Functional Requirement Social Disorganization Contemporary Theory Unanticipated Consequence 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sam D. Sieber

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