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Fängslande idéer: Svensk miljöpolitik och teorier om policyproduktion
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government.
2010 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates the role of ideas in policy processes. It does so using three theories as a starting point, selected for being alike yet unique in their description of how ideas may “get stuck” in the organization’s production and reproduction of policy. The theories are Discourse Coalition Framework, Advocacy Coalition Framework, and Punctuated Equilibrium Theory. These theories have very different emphases but share constructivist traits and an interest in how social processes of meaning making take form in a rather “traditional” organizational setting, thus paying attention to, if not reducing the study to, the institutions of representative democracy.

Two theoretical problems are identified within these theories. They concern 1) the mechanism and 2) the object of analysis. The theoretical question addressed in part I is: How are we to understand the proposition that ideas may cause stability in policy processes? What is the underlying mechanism? It is argued that the cognitive mechanism which the theories use should be substituted with a social psychological one. The assumption that stability is created when political actors conform to the ideas of others when they are confronted with apparent unanimity among policy makers, rather than that they internalize these ideas, makes both greater stability and instability in policy processes more plausible.

Part II poses the question; if we are to investigate policy stability and instability using the discussed theoretical perspective, what unit of analysis should we use? In other words, what is a policy? It is argued that if ideological stability is seen as an effect of how policy formulation is organized (as is argued in part I), then close attention must be paid to processual factors when it is decided what unit of policy, on what level, might be explained. It is furthermore argued that although we may theoretically form an idea about substantially coherent patterns of policy recognizable as a policy, which should result from stable organizational patterns of communication in the policy process, it remains an empirical question if and where these patterns can actually be found. An analysis of Swedish environmental policy is performed to allow for observations of the degree to which empirical evidence is consistent with the policy patterns predicted by the theoretical assumptions outlined in part one.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2010. , p. 383
Series
Skrifter utgivna av Statsvetenskapliga föreningen i Uppsala, ISSN 0346-7538 ; 176
Keywords [en]
policy ideas, theories of the policy process, constructivism, Discourse Coalition Framework, Advocacy Coalition Framework, Punctuated Equilibrium Theory, environmental policy, Sweden
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-122391ISBN: 978-91-554-7777-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-122391DiVA, id: diva2:311008
Public defence
2010-05-31, Brusewitzsalen, Gamla Torget 6, Uppsala, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-05-10 Created: 2010-04-11 Last updated: 2018-01-12Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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