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Laws exist to incentivize us to act in a certain manner, in accordance with the policies that our community has deemed right for us. And when we disagree with those laws, we must re-examine our policies, and thus our beliefs and ideas, to decide whether our community has changed. This is a book about law and public policy—about the ideas and the rules we build to implement those rules. While similar books have looked at public policy and public administration in an effort to explain how the government works, and others have considered the foundations of the legal system to understand the rulemaking institutions, this book takes a different approach. In this ground-breaking new textbook, author Kevin Fandl develops a complete picture of society, from idea to action -- by examining laws through the lens of policy, and vice versa. This holistic approach gives readers a chance to see not only why certain rules exist, but how those rules evolved over time and the events that inspired them. It offers readers an opportunity not only to see but also to participate in the process of forming the structures that shape our society.
This textbook is divided into two sections. The first section provides readers with the tools that they will need to digest the policies and laws that surround them. These tools include a historical deep dive into the foundations of the governance structure in the United States and beyond, an important examination of civics and a reminder of the importance of engaging in the policymaking process, a careful breakdown of the institutions that form the backbone of the law and policy-making institutions in the United States, and finally critical thinking including practical tools to find reliable sources for news, research, and other types of information. The second section of the text is comprised of subject-matter analyses. These subject-based chapters, written by experts on the topic at hand begin with a historical perspective, followed by a careful examination of the key policies and laws that inform that field. Each chapter highlights key vocabulary, provides practical vignettes to add context to the writing, explores a unique global component to compare perspectives from communities worldwide, and includes a number of discussion questions and recommended readings for further examination. This textbook is tailored specifically for undergraduate and graduate students of public policy, to introduce them to the role of law and legal institutions as facilitators and constraints on public policy, exploring those laws in a range of relevant policy contexts with the help of short case studies.