Doctor of Philosophy
Public Policy & Administration
J. David Kennamer
This dissertation assesses the factors that inﬂuence the development of juvenile justice policy in France and Germany within the context of systems theory, The project utilizes an open/closed systems framework as a way to conceptualize determinants of juvenile justice policy. France and Germany serve as two single case studies for demonstrating the open and closed dichotomy that characterize system theory with France being characterized as a closed system while Germany is characterized as an open system. This difference is demonstrated through a discussion of historical, cultural, political, social and economic variables, which shape policy development in each of these countries. This project contends that a signiﬁcant contribution is made to the understanding of policy making using the open and closed systems framework.
Design and methodology:
Single case studies : France and Germany
Development of common variables to be investigated across two systems
Focused interviews with key informants, non-random sample, one-on-one, in person, purposive, taped and transcribed
Content analysis of focused interviews
Content analysis of juvenile justice policies in France and Germany
Database searches of print media coverage
A review of documents: laws, policies, penal codes, newspapers, legislative minutes Comparative analysis
Data analysis: qualitative and quantitative techniques, mixed methodology
Gathering of public opinion poll information
Summary of the ﬁndings:
1) The preponderance of information indicates that the relationship between policy change
and media coverage is strongly related in both France and Germany
2) Public concern over juvenile crime in France has the greatest inﬂuence on the
implementation of policy rather than on policy development. The research indicates that
in Germany, public opinion has a decided inﬂuence on the formation of public policy
3) The evidence seems to indicate that the process of policy making in Germany is more
complex due to the open nature of the system, while in France the policy making process is simpler due to the closed nature of the system.
4) The evidence indicates that the French juvenile justice policy is as prevention-oriented as the German policy, in spite of France being characterized as a closed system.
The open and closed framework provides two mutually exclusive models that can be used to assess, in an eﬂicient manner, factors that inﬂuence policy development. Through comparison and contrast, a variety of factors that may shape policy can be articulated using the open and closed dichotomy.
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