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A policy problem that cannot escape its past: constraints on the reformation of safety policy
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8695-4504
2015 (English)In: Critical Policy Studies, ISSN 1946-0171, E-ISSN 1946-018X, Vol. 9, no 2, p. 158-176Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Within many current policy theories there is a tendency to first identify change and then explainit. A retrospective analysis of policy changes risks missing continuous processes and struggles forchange as well as mechanisms of resistance to change. Taking this as a point of departure, thispaper develops an understanding of the policy process as a struggle over meaning, as a way toallow for a more nuanced understanding of the dynamics of policy change and continuity. Thisapproach is illustrated by an analysis of the formation of public safety policy in Sweden.Alternative storylines giving ‘new’ meanings to the policy problem were strategicallyincorporated into the policy discourse. However, it is found that an ideational path-dependency ofthe policy constrains the possibility for problem reformulation and thereby also the possibility forpolicy change. The discourses that instantiated the policy problem not only affect the ways inwhich the problem is rendered thinkable for the purposes of its government, but also for policyanalysts as well as the public. The analysis shows that it is crucial to understand the interrelationsbetween different discourses (within policy, politics and research) to understand the mechanismsof policy change and continuity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2015. Vol. 9, no 2, p. 158-176
Keywords [en]
policy formation, policy change, discourse, safety, fear of crime, path-dependency Introduction
National Category
Public Administration Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-61528DOI: 10.1080/19460171.2014.971038ISI: 000214279400003Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84930047426OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-61528DiVA, id: diva2:1149132
Available from: 2017-10-13 Created: 2017-10-13 Last updated: 2017-10-13Bibliographically approved

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