Water for weststate, U.S.A.: the association in the politics of water resource development.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractWater resource development in the American West is partially dependent upon a political process of decision-making. Within Weststate, U.S.A., this political process is viewed as a system composed of various social units and it is examined through the activities of one type of social unit--the formal voluntary association. Eight associations were studied over a period of eighteen months. Each of the associations was examined with regard to its activities in seven issues of water resource development, the internal organization of the association, the relationship of the association with the water-oriented power structure of the state, the interrelationships with the other social units of the system, the problems of associational success and failure, and function of the association in the internal maintenance of the system and its output. It was found that the associations were not totally independent of one another nor of the other social units in the system. Rather, they were observed to be connected in varying degrees of elasticity through the sharing of personnel, interlocking directorates, the role-positions of expert and observer, and indirect ties via intermediary social units. Within the system one of the basic functions of the associations was conflict reduction. Associations were found to decrease the potential for cooperation. The associations also served as conflict creators by acting as autonomous bases of countervailance. The distribution of power throughout the system, and particularly between the "public" and "private" sectors, was another function of the association. This was usually done in three ways: (1) coordinate, usually related to a task-specific division of power, (2) subordinate, usually tied to the need for grassroots support for agency programs, and (3) superordinate, which usually involved a clientele's control of a service agency. Another power distributing function of the associations was to act as a "drain" to draw power away from the system by arousing the masses and having them rescind the proxies of power which they had given de facto to the System. The association also functioned as change inducers by providing an informal and nonpublic setting for compromise and decision-making, by reducing conflict, and by distributing power. Conversely, the associations also functioned to prevent changes by acting as independent bases of countervailance and by draining power from the system.
Degree NamePh. D.