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April 17, 2006
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May 17, 2006
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Understanding Affirmative Action

Politics, Discrimination, and the Search for Justice

For some time, the United States has been engaged in a national debate over affirmative action policy. A policy that began with the idea of creating a level playing field for minorities has sparked controversy in the workplace, in higher education, and elsewhere. After forty years, the debate still continues and the issues are as complex as ever. While most Americans are familiar with the term, they may not fully understand what affirmative action is and why it has become such a divisive issue.

With this concise and up-to-date introduction, J. Edward Kellough brings together historical, philosophical, and legal analyses to fully inform participants and observers of this debate. Aiming to promote a more thorough knowledge of the issues involved, this book covers the history, legal status, controversies, and impact of affirmative action in both the private and public sectors—and in education as well as employment.

In addition, Kellough shows how the development and implementation of affirmative action policies have been significantly influenced by the nature and operation of our political institutions. Highlighting key landmarks in legislation and court decisions, he explains such concepts as "disparate impact," "diversity management," "strict scrutiny," and "representative bureaucracy." Understanding Affirmative Action probes the rationale for affirmative action, the different arguments against it, and the known impact it has had. Kellough concludes with a consideration of whether or not affirmative action will remain a useful tool for combating discrimination in the years to come.

Not just for students in public administration and public policy, this handy volume will be a valuable resource for public administrators, human resource managers, and ordinary citizens looking for a balanced treatment of a controversial policy.

About the Author

J. Edward Kellough is a professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy at the University of Georgia. He is the author of Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Policy and Numerical Goals and Timetables and coeditor (with Lloyd G. Nigro) of Civil Service Reform in the States.


"A condensed single author treatment of affirmative action, rather than the raft of edited volumes available on the market, is a welcome contribution to the field, especially for students requiring a brief introduction to past and present policies."—Teachers College Record

"Kellough offers a well-rounded presentation of one of the most grossly misunderstood social and academic policies in American history. His discussion manages to bridge the most salient points concerning this policy into one book, offering readers a one-stop shop of information concerning affirmative action. In succinct fashion, Kellough provides a well-balanced discussion that highlights arguments in support of and in opposition to affirmative action."—AMERICAN JOURNAL OF EDUCATION


"Understanding Affirmative Action serves to fill a critical gap in the literature on affirmative action by giving a developed history of the policy development along with the current status of scholarship on the topic. The book has the potential to become a classic in the field. This book serves as an excellent handbook for those who are active in scholarship concerning affirmative action and an exceptional guide for graduate students and scholars looking to begin work in affirmative action research."—Kenneth J. Meier, Texas A&M University

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