Published on

  • Be the first to comment


  2. 2. Political situations: an overview
  3. 3. Four intellectual imperatives
  4. 4.  The field of public policy is American in intellectual origin in ways that are important to understanding its trajectory and contributions. During the same period, the study of political science in France and Germany focused on the proper administration of the state (Stein, 1995). In contrast, in Latin America, independent research units often provided advice and criticism direct at pressing problems, though their visibility- indeed their viability- waxed and waned with the rise and fall of democratic regimes. In contrast, in Latin America, independent research units often provided advice and criticism direct at pressing problems, though their visibility- indeed their viability- waxed and waned with the rise and fall of democratic regimes. The field of public policy has deep roots in this third tradition (virtuous popular democratic majorities) with all of its inherent contradictions over concentrated or diffuse political powerI Organizing knowledge: definitions, structureand history
  5. 5.  Most authors move straight to the question of defining public policy and the policy process.  Lawrence Mead captured the scope and sense of the field when he wrote that public policy is an approach to the study of politics that analyzes government in the light of major public issues.  James Anderson offered a representative definition when he wrote that a policy is a purposive course of action followed by an actor or set of actors in dealing with a matter of concern.  Definitions of the policy process are moved varied. Some closely link public policy with all governmental action.  B. Guy Peters wrote that public policy is the sum of activities of governments.  Others in the problem- solving school draw their inspiration from systems theory with definitions based on inputs, transformations, and outputs.A. Definitions: the window to history
  6. 6.  Allthe definitions emphasize a holistic view of policy- making, a belief that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, those individuals, institutions, interactions, and ideology all matter, even if there is notable disagreement about the proportional important of each. In the language of the structure agency debate, most political scientists specializing in public policy see causation at and beyond the individual level.Three definitional traditions
  7. 7. The fragmentation of publishing in the field is emblematic of its multiple origins and the lack, for good as much as for ill, of an authoritative arbiter of ideas or approaches.Education for the public interest further fragments the field, because political science as a discipline does not routinely educate students for problem- solving.In the main, liberal arts departments of political science teach about public policy at the undergraduate and graduate levels, but they do not provide education for action.B. Structure of the field
  8. 8. C. History: to know the world and change it
  9. 9.  Fields with unity of method and well defined scope have a greather likelihood of creating cumulative knowledge and high theory than fields like public policy with its history or diffuse methods and subjects.  Public policy has lacked a tradition of intellectual criticism, (that questions the deep structures of government and the state) a tradition that has helped the field of comparative politics develop normative and empirical theory in the face of similar problems of scope and methods.  But within each of the four imperatives there is a richness of research that is both self- consciously about policy and contributes to theory and practice in the others fields as well.II. What do we know? Research based onthe four imperatives
  10. 10. At as a field, public policy embraces modeling the whole, but public policy is not alone in this approach. Modeling the whole is an honorable and widespread traidition in the social sciences.The holism of the policy field is distinctive because the research has more concrete and circumscribed aims- to develop a single, or even several, general theories of governmental processes into a leser extent, to embed these theories of governmental processes into a larger understandings of the relations between state and society.A. Holism
  11. 11. The holistic imperative
  12. 12.  Policy making rarely looks like the textbook discussions of the policy cycle. Sometimes a solution goes looking for a problem. Similarly, the content of policies is not merely determined in the decision making phase. Rather, policy content is negotiated over and over again, in problem definition, legislation, regulation, and court decisions, and again in the decisions made by street- level- bureaucrats. But even acknowledging the porous nature of the policy process, the stages of the policy process often have specific characteristics.1. The policy cycle
  13. 13. The scholarship on issue typologies exists side by side with the work on the policy cycle. The focus of the issue typologies literature is not patters of actions during stages of the policy cycles.How could the typology literature and policy cycle literature be integrated? Some initials steps are clear.2. Issue typologies
  14. 14. The research in the field of public policy has also emphasized the consequences of governmental actions for people.A large body of research seeks to answer the question “what happens to which people and why?.This intellectual imperative has the scope and the limits of the field in general.The what happens question is usually defined in behavioral not normative terms.B. Consequences
  15. 15. The impulse to desing better systems for government is also part of the third imperative of the polici field: to produce useful knowledge.This imperative recognizes the social responsabilities of social scientists.The hard part of being useful is making sustained difference on the basis of scholarly research.C. Useful knowledge
  16. 16. Stone’s concern about how much and what kind of governmental instrusion citizens experience is linked to the fourth imperative: democracy matters. Indeed, all of the other imperatives- holism, the importance of the consequences of governmental actions, and the drive for useful knowledge contribute to the democratic humanism that Lasswell felt best described the policy endeavor. Lasswell took a hopeful view of human nature, public participation, and political judgment.D. Democracry matters
  17. 17. Conclusions