Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

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.


Scanned, with permission from the author, from the original print version, which resides in University Archives.


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