When Forethought and Outturn Part

Perri 6

in Paradoxes of Modernization

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199573547
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722677 | DOI:
When Forethought and Outturn Part

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To expect to find a theory to explain the causes of all and only unintended or unanticipated consequences is no more reasonable than hoping for a general theory of misfortunes. Yet something useful of a general character can be achieved by developing clear conceptual frameworks of definition, classification, and typology. Such frameworks can enable structured comparison, better measurement, and clearer questions with which to distinguish the different kinds of puzzles for which theories and explanations are required. This chapter offers part of such a general framework. First, it considers some key strands of research of unintended and unanticipated consequences in the social sciences, and identifies some limitations in these bodies of work. Then the key terms of ‘surprise’, ‘anticipation’, ‘intention’, and ‘welcome’ are examined, that go to make up an initial, coarse-grained typology. This tool is used to consider similarities and differences between the cases examined in other chapters in this volume. The chapter concludes by identifying a key conceptual and theoretical issue for further work in the next generation of research in this field.

Keywords: unintended consequences; surprise; anticipation; intention; welcome

Chapter.  7049 words. 

Subjects: Public Management and Administration

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