The Growth of a Semisovereign StatePeter J. Katzenstein
How can we account for the lack of large-scale policy change in West Germany despite changes in the partisan make-up of the federal government? This formulation of "the German Question" differs from the one commonly posed by students of German politics, a version usually focused on Germany’s tragic confrontation with modernity and a possible revival of militarism and authoritarianism. Katzenstein here uncovers the political structures that make incremental policy change such a plausible political check against the growing force of government.
This book examines in detail how West German policy and politics interrelate in six problem areas: economic management, industrial relations, social welfare, migrant workers, administrative reform, and university reform. Throughout these six case studies, Katzenstein suggests that West Germany’s semi-sovereign state provides the answer to the German Question as it precludes the possibility of central authority. Coalition governments, federalism, para-public institutions, and the state bureaucracy are the domestic forces that have tamed power in the Federal Republic.
"Admirably clear and well written from a new viewpoint, this is the best informed and most thoughtful analysis of the political system of West Germany. Anyone seriously interested in the German Federal Republic should read it."
—Karl Deutsch, Stanfield Professor of International Peace, Harvard Emeritus