From Federal-State Partnership to Advocacy Coalition: The Institutionalized Organization of Government Support for the Arts in the U.S.
33 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2014
Our paper offers a possible, partial explanation for the continued operation and ultimate survival of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and direct federal support for the arts in the 1990s: political institutionalization. The thesis of our paper is that during the 1990s an “advocacy coalition” (see Sabatier, 1993) consisting of the NEA and the state art agencies (SAASs) emerged from the institutional environment of American cooperative federalism (e.g., Elazar, 1964) and “marble-cake” intergovernmental relations (e.g., Grodzins, 1993). The advocacy coalition of the NEA and the SAAs formed around a deeply shared and embedded belief in the appropriateness of federal support for the arts in the U.S. and the necessity of the federal-state partnership in its provision. Drawing on Meyer’s General Institutional Model for organizational analysis (Meyer, 1994) and Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith’s Advocacy Coalition Framework for policy analysis (Jenkins-Smith & Sabatier, 1994; Sabatier & Jenkins-Smith, 1993), we develop the Institutionalized Political Organization (IPO) model to demonstrate how the emergence of the NEA-SAA advocacy coalition had the primary consequence of institutionalizing federal support for the arts in the U.S. Thus, our proposed paper suggests that the political institutionalization of federal support for the arts in the U.S. provided a resilient and stable political environment that shielded the NEA from congressional threats and enabled American arts policy to continue to operate in and ultimately survive the 1990s.
Keywords: federalism, intergovernmental relations, arts policy, National Endowment for the Arts
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