Policy Analysis and Environment Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy 6.11.2006 Viktar Kireyeu Meso Analysis (The analysis of problem definition, - презентация
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Policy Analysis and Environment Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy Viktar Kireyeu Meso Analysis (The analysis of problem definition, agenda-setting and the formation of policy)
Meso Analysis A middle-range or bridging level of analysis which is focused on the linkage between the definition of problems, the setting of agendas and the decision- making and implementation process How problems are formed and framed How they become - or do not become – items or issues on the policy agenda
Problem definition The genesis of a policy involves the recognition of a problem. What counts as a problem and how a problem is defined depend upon the way in which policy makers seek to address an issue or event. We may all agree what an issue is but disagree to what exactly the problem is, and therefore what policy should be pursued.
Problem definition A problem has to be defined, structured, located within certain boundaries and given a name. The difficulty with policy problems is compounded by their complexity and ill- definition. We do not know where one problem begins and another ends. They overlap, intersect and bump into one another.
Social problem approaches Two broad lines of development in the study of social problems: Positivist/functionalist Problems are seen as facts to be measured, and as having a functionality to the maintenance of society Phenomenological Problems are essentially subjective social constructions The positivist approach remains the dominant paradigm of social policy-making and analysis
The media and the construction of the problem From the perspective of the constructivist approach, the impact of the media on social problems is a key aspect of the labelling process in that it sensitizes and amplifies The media select what is newsworthy and in so selecting include and exclude issues, events and ideas
Public opinion and public policy Vox populi, vox dei In a democracy one could argue that public policy is a function of public opinion Policy demand determines policy supply Models of agenda-setting McCombs and Shaws Rogers and Dearings Issue attention cycles (IACs)
Theories of agenda control Pluralist perspective The definition of problems and the setting of policy agendas is essentially the outcome of a process of competition of different groups Schattschneider Public policy is essentially an activity in which issues are included and excluded and bias is mobilized to ensure that conflict is managed and contained Cobb and Elder There are internal and external triggers which prompt the emergence of an issue. Agenda-building occurs as a result of the expansion of an issue from a specifically concerned attention group to a wider public
Typologies of policy issues A number of scholars have suggested typologies of issues which facilitate comparison between different issues and policies Wilson uses the criteria of costs and benefits Lowi puts forward a classification based upon their distributive and regulative nature Hogwood sets out a framework which explores the costs and benefits from the point of view of the possibilities of differential outcomes, forms of bargaining and conflict, and a range of options
Non-decision-making In pluralist accounts of democracy, power was seen as widely distributed and political system so organized that the policy process was essentially driven by public demands and opinions. But it failed to appreciate the extent to which those with power can actually exclude issues and problems from the policy–making agenda. Non-decision-making suggests that policy- makers with power have a capacity to keep issues off the agenda which they control.
Deep theories Deep theorists argue that the exercise of power in defining problems and setting agendas is something which takes place at a deeper level than what may be seen in surface or decisional terms. Two groups of deep theorists: Providing linking levels of analysis Argumentative approach
Knowledge and policy agenda Argumentative approach suggests that knowledge frames policy agendas and problems Professional groups are often represented as creators of knowledge that play important role in shaping social policy Think-tanks and research bodies aim to influence the policy agenda through the publication of research and policy advocacy Throughout history theorists and philosophers have placed great stress on the role of ideas in the political process
Policies and problems as symbols In the analysis of policy we must be aware of the use that policy-makers make of policy talk and the underlying aspects of meaning which are located in policy presentation and discourse As Bacon argued long ago, the words which we use in policy become idols or symbols to define something which may not actually be there. The policy-maker may therefore think that a policy has solved or a condition has been improved, when in reality all that has happened is that symbols have been manipulated For Edelman, therefore, a core task of policy analysis should be the deconstruction of policy discourses and the demystification of the myths and symbols which are deployed by policy-makers to their advantage
New approaches The argument that the policy agendas of liberal democratic and other countries are converging adds weight to the idea that we need more overarching general models and theories t explain the processes which we have been analyzing above. This desire for a synthesis has found expression in a number of approaches: Policy networks and communities Policy streams Advocacy coalitions Punctuated equilibrium
Analysing the boundaries Policy making does not take place in isolation There are wider factors which set the boundaries or parameters for the formulation and implementation of policy agendas Policy-making takes place in the context of the constraints of economic, social, geographical historical and cultural limits
Globalization and policy making The international environment forms much of the context of national policy-making. Policy-makers in each country share a policy context formed by the international economic cycle of prosperity, recession, depression and recovery The policy agenda is also becoming international. Similar problems show up in different societies at a similar time and some solutions are considered though by no means implemented, throughout the liberal-democratic world. The mass media and international conferences ease this process of policy diffusion. Policy makers in one country seek to emulate the success of colleagues overseas
Development of communication technologies and agenda-setting One of the important social aspects of media agenda setting is the consensus- building function of the media. By emphasizing relatively small number of issues at a time, the mass media focus public attention on these issues. In doing so, the media set the themes of public opinion for us. The media consensus-building function has been evaluated rather negatively because it is likely to be associated with mass manipulation by the elite.
Development of communication technologies and agenda-setting Since the 1990s, the development of digital communication technology – cable and satellite technology and especially the Internet – in combination with the spread of privatization and deregulation policies has been changing the media environment. News outlets have rapidly grown in number and variety. The mass audience is fragmenting, with fewer and fewer people dependent on traditional mass media such as terrestrial television networks or newspapers.
Development of communication technologies and agenda-setting What will technology development bring to agenda-setting function of the mass media? Is fragmentation of public agenda inevitable? How will it influence Issue Attention Cycles? What role could blogs play in the agenda- setting process?