POLS 3300 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Psychopathology, Irreducible Element, Restorative Justice

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Week 2
Excerpt from Beyond Policy Analysis – Leslie Pal, 2006:
Conceptualizing Interests in Policymaking A Glossary:
Key Source
A wide range of actors, including government, from all
levels, officials, interest organizations, research groups,
journalists, and even other countries, who share a belief
system about a policy area and over time demonstrate
some degree of coordinated activity
An important feature is the idea that policy fields are
marked by competing advocacy coalitions
Sabatier and
A range of policy actors united by broad ideas about the
policy field, ideas that include assumptions, images,
rhetoric, linguistic turns
Appears similar to advocacy coalitions but has a
stronger emphasis on language and meaning
Fischer and
Forester, 1933
Originally developed in the field of international
relations, this concept tries to capture the influence of
international groups of scientific experts on policy-
making, for example, in the environmental field
Emphasis on the power of ideas and expertise, as
expressed through professional organizations or
Hass, 1992
Iron triangle
The stable and cozy relationships among congressional
committees, executive agencies (primarily regulatory),
and economic interest groups
Implies long-term, stable interactions among a few
actors, insulated from the rest of the policy process
Carter, 1964
Ripley and
Franklin, 1984
Issue network
Offered as a critique of the “iron triangle” concept in that
most policy subsystems were actually quite fluid and
changing with actors coalescing as necessary around
issues, not policy sectors
Heclo and
Policy community
The wide set of actors interested and informed about a
policy issue, who share at least some common
language, but who may be opponents on the issue
Differs from the advocacy coalition approach in that
policy communities are presumed to include everyone
active in a field
Wright, 1988
Coleman and
Policy network
A subset of actors in the policy community who have a
consistently higher level of interest in the policy issue,
and interact regularly
The most important feature is the discerning of patterns
of relations that have consequences for the
development and delivery of policy
Atkinson and
Van Waarden,
Public interest
Interest groups that advocate on behalf of the public
good rather than the direct self-interest of their
Emphasis is on advocacy for “causes” and the public
interest rather than economic lobbying
Berry, 1997
Pal, 1993
Phillips, 1993
Social movement
Interest groups rooted in social transformations of the
1960s that led to new values, new class structures, and
new social coalitions (e.g., environmentalism, feminism)
Key feature is the link between organizations and their
social foundations, as well as the new dynamics of
participation that arise with these organizations
Offe, 1987
Zald, 1987
and Tarrow,
Melucci, 1989
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Week 2
A generic concept that expresses the idea that policy
does not get made in a single “system” but in
subsystems that consist of microcosms of all the
relevant political and institutional actors
This concept was developed in the 1950s as part of
pluralist analyses of policymaking
Truman, 1951
Jordan, 1990
Pross, 1992
Policy Analysis Concepts and Practice:
Elements of Policy Content:
Policy consistency is an important concept to appreciate, since it underpins both what we do
as policy analysts and how we perceive public policies as citizens policies are expected to
be consistent in several interrelated ways:
1. We expect policies to have an internal consistency among the 3 elements of problem
definition, goals, and instruments
2. We expect a policy to be vertically consistent in the sense that the programs and
activities that are undertaken in its name are logically related to it policy statements are
normally fairly abstract and general; they must be actualized through an implementation
process that elaborates programs and activities to give the policy effect
What is Public Policy Analysis:
Policy analysis will be defined as the disciplined application of intellect to public problems
policy analysis is a cognitive activity a thinking game, if you will a large part of which
focuses on public policy outputs in terms of their problem definition, goals, and instruments
It is not exclusively a matter of “cogitation” but of “interaction” as well of letting problems get
solved through experimentation, bargaining, and exchange, rather than exclusively through
planning but the reflective, cognitive aspect is central
The central distinction to keep in mind is between a style of policy analysis that is more
explanatory and descriptive and a style that is more applied or prescriptive or between what
Harold Lasswell called “knowledge of the policy process” and “knowledge in the policy
“The policy orientation provides a means for dealing with human purposes in the best
scientific framework possible to aid those who will make social choices. The instrumental end
is better intelligence” George Graham
The methodological basis can vary from a generic (and usually multidisciplinary) approach to
one that is solidly grounded in either natural or social sciences
Economics offers an intellectual apparatus that is broadly applicable to a wide range of policy
issues, but once again the central concerns of the policy analyst have less to do with the
disciplines that seem to be “naturally” aligned to the policy issue than with the larger issues
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Week 2
discussed in the previous section: how well is the problem defined, what are its
characteristics, what goals are being pursued, and are the instruments adequate and likely to
produce results?
The other aspect of policy analysis is that it is systematic it proceeds logically through a
series of clearly defined stages to come to its conclusions it should be possible, in other
words, to see how someone arrived at his or her conclusions
All this may seem self-evident, but it holds 3 implications of great importance to the way that
we view contemporary policy analysis:
1. At least insofar as policy analysis seems to be allied with scientific disciplines, not just
anyone can do it properly
o Ordinary citizens have opinions about public policy, but their views may be
determined by prejudice or what happened to be on that morning’s front page
o The issue this raises of course is the division between citizens and experts do
citizens, when the contemplate public policy issues, engage in “real” policy analysis
or merely in fuzzy thinking, and can experts put aside their own personal opinions
2. There will be both good and bad analysis
o This implies some intersubjective standard of judgment hat will act as a benchmark
for all participants in the analytical process
o This implies some training, especially in the use of more technically oriented forms of
analysis and data generation
o It has to be acknowledged that policy analysis contains an irreducible element of
interpretation and perspective
o A substantial part of policy analysis does rely on scientific methodological techniques
of data-gathering, research, and assessment
o Gender-based analysis (GBA) seeks to assess the differential impact of public
policies, programs, and legislation on women and men
o A complementary concept is gender main-streaming, which is an organizational
strategy to ensure that a gender perspective is reflected in all types of organizational
o Policy analysis is also complicated by possible cultural biases
3. Policy analysis, however much it may draw on other scientific disciplines, is itself a
specific form of inquiry
o It is important not to paint too rigid a picture of policy analysis taking the 2 elements
of the definition (1) the disciplined application of intellect and (2) public problems
it is easy to see that if we break each one down into its possible elements that there
is a wide variety of possibilities and permutations that might come under the broad
rubric of policy analysis
o The first category is really about styles of reasoning, as long as these styles are
disciplined and systematic in some recognizable sense
o The second is about the various aspects of process, content and outcome that are
relevant to policy
Normative analysis measures some aspect of policy against an ethical standard: secular
morality, the Bible, the Koran, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the UN
Declaration of Human Rights this type of analysis is remarkably important in today’s world
but is rarely acknowledged in the literature on policy analysis
Legal analysis looks at public policy through the prism of law: constitutionally, consistency
with statute, the practice of legal convention this overlaps slightly with the previous category
in that a prime measure of contemporary morality is human rights, and hence constitutional
provisions on human rights; but this category also contains questions about jurisdiction and
legality in the more technical sense
Logical analysis deals with questions of consistency and coherence this kind of analysis
can be done without extensive empirical research and so is a favourite of media pundits; the
fact that these pundits shape the opinion of millions of people should underscore how
important a form of analysis it is
Empirical analysis takes logical analysis one step further by actually posing the same
questions in the light of empirical evidence; not what might be the likely effect of policy X, but
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