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Palgrave Macmillan

The Political Process of Policymaking

A Pragmatic Approach to Public Policy

ISBN 9781137347657
Publication Date June 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy

Far from being defenceless when faced with inextricable problems such as inequality, unemployment, poverty, precarious situations or global warming, governments continuously increase the policy proposals for new action, reforms or transformation. Nevertheless, their inability to solve problems, which is occasionally penalised by democratic voting or by changeovers, never challenges the political system itself. To understand this astonishing political stability within a disordered world, Philippe Zittoun looks at the 'policymaking process' as a political activity which defines, propagates and imposes public policy proposals as a means to 'restore order' within society. Based on a significant study as well as on surveys carried out at the heart of the policymaking process, this innovative approach to public policy leads us to identify policymakers as true modern Sisyphuses.

Philippe Zittoun is Research Professor of Political Science at LET-ENTPE, University of Lyon, France. He is Vice-Chair of the IPSA 'Public Policy' Research Committee and coordinator of the International Conference on Public Policy. He is also a member of the editorial board of several international journals such as Critical Policy Studies, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, Policy and Society. His research focuses on understanding the policymaking process and, in particular, on the importance of discursive struggles, argumentative strategies, political aspects and the role of actors.

Introduction: The Political Processof Policymaking
PART I: CREATING SOCIAL DISORDER CONSTRUCTING, PROPAGATING AND POLICITISING SOCIAL PROBLEMS
1. A Pragmatic Approach to Public Problems
2. Definitional Struggles Around Unacceptable Problems
PART II: DEFINING SOLUTION, A COMPLEX BRICOLAGE TO SOLVE PUBLIC PROBLEMS
1. Between Stratagem and Cognitive Bricolage: The Contribution of Simon and Lindblom
2. From Cognitive Bricolage to Language Games
3. The Five Couplings in Defining Solutions
4. From Coupling to Restoring Political Order
PART III: PROPAGATING SOLUTION, ARGUMENTATIVE STRATEGIES TO CEMENT COALITIONS
1. Arguing to Persuade
2. Discussion as a Test of Persuasion Strategies
3. From Persuasion to Diffusion, Building Discursive Coalitions
PART IV: POLICY STATEMENTS TO LEGITIMISE 'DECISION-MAKERS'
1. The Paradoxes of Taking Positions into Account
2. The Definitional Issues of a Topography of Positions
3. The 'Decision' to Fix Topographies Within Statements
4. An Empirical Example of Decision: Political Decision-making of the Paris Tramway
Conclusion: How Public Policy Shapes Politics

Reviews

"Despite much lip-service given to the need to understand the profoundly political nature of public policies, there is a distinct tendency in many studies to address the subject in a mechanical way, treating the definition of policy goals and the articulation of the means to achieve them as technical issues subject to a precise instrumental logic and rationality. This excellent volume by Philippe Zittoun avoids this error and takes on the analysis of the political construction of public policy head-on. It develops and refines key definitions and methods for thepolitical analysis of public policy-making, from problem construction to solution 'bricolage' and the development and analysis of the argumentative strategies used to propagate solutions and legitimize them. This is essential reading for all students of policy-making." – Micheal Howlett, Burnaby Mountain Chair, Simon Fraser University, Canada
"All too often politics is underplayed in the analysis of the policy process. In The Political Process of Policymaking Professor Zittoun offers a refreshing corrective to this neglect. He is also to be commended for his attention of the role the political construction of policy objects and events, as well as his examination of the role of communication and argumentation as they play out across the policy process as a whole, from agenda-setting to evaluation. Not least important is the fact that the book opens the way to a much needed and long overdue exchange between policy scholars in the English and French speaking worlds. This is by all accounts a seminar service to the field." – Frank Fischer, Professor of Politics and Global Affairs, Rutgers University, USA
"Philippe Zittoun's book provides an excellent discussion of policymaking in France, and the interactions among levels of government within that political system. This is not, however, just a book on France but provides insights into more general theoretical and analytic questions about public policy." – B. Guy Peters, Maurice Falk Professor of Government, University of Pittsburgh, USA
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