T01P11 - Policy Regime Framework: Towards Better Theories of the Policy Process

Topic : Policy Process Theories

Panel Chair : Iftikhar Lodhi - ialodhi@gmail.com

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

More than a decade ago Peter John (2003) asked “is there life after policy streams, punctuations, and coalitions?” Few years later Peter May (2010) followed the suite asking policy scholars to go “beyond subsystems” and employ “policy regimes” lens. These calls reflect a growing sense of a lack of theory development in Policy Sciences (PS), be it competitive theories or complementary in a progressive way. The discipline, despite its rich and long history, offers only heuristic models or loose frameworks (often without strong theoretical foundations) ranging from the first generation rationalism and incrementalism to second generation Garbage Can, Multiple Streams, and Advocacy Coalition Framework. The third generation of theory building in Policy Sciences appears to be stagnated. The scholars working in any one particular tradition rarely engage other frameworks within PS or theories across disciplines like International Relations (IR), Comparative Political Economy (CPE), and more importantly recent developments in New Institutional Economics (NIE), all of which are concerned with the similar issues. If the third generation of policy theories were to produce cumulative knowledge and a better understanding of the complex policy process in an increasingly globalised setting, a synthesis is imperative. Recently Policy Science scholars have called for incorporation of the cumulative knowledge from IR and CPE into the policy process frameworks (Jochim and May 2010; John 2013). Such a synthesis is also required across the supposedly incommensurate epistemological divides (positivist v. constructivist) within these disciplines, if we are to accumulate knowledge in a progressive way (Checkel 1997; Shapiro and Wendt 2005; Walker 2010).

This panel invites policy scholars to take up this challenge and propose innovative frameworks and possibly concrete theories of the policy process that incorporate emerging realities of the policy process, particularly in light of the challenges posed by globalisation to PS. Papers particularly developing and fine tuning the Policy Regimes Framework/Perspective are encouraged.

Call for papers

More than a decade ago Peter John (2003) asked “is there life after policy streams, punctuations, and coalitions?” Few years later Peter May (2010) followed the suite asking policy scholars to go “beyond subsystems” and employ “policy regimes” lens. These calls reflect a growing sense of a lack of theory development in Policy Sciences (PS), be it competitive theories or complementary in a progressive way. The discipline, despite its rich and long history, offers only heuristic models or loose frameworks (often without strong theoretical foundations) ranging from the first generation rationalism and incrementalism to second generation Garbage Can, Multiple Streams, and Advocacy Coalition Framework. The third generation of theory building in Policy Sciences appears to be stagnated. The scholars working in any one particular tradition rarely engage other frameworks within PS or theories across disciplines like International Relations (IR), Comparative Political Economy (CPE), and more importantly recent developments in New Institutional Economics (NIE), all of which are concerned with the similar issues. If the third generation of policy theories were to produce cumulative knowledge and a better understanding of the complex policy process in an increasingly globalised setting, a synthesis is imperative. Recently Policy Science scholars have called for incorporation of the cumulative knowledge from IR and CPE into the policy process frameworks (Jochim and May 2010; John 2013). Such a synthesis is also required across the supposedly incommensurate epistemological divides (positivist v. constructivist) within these disciplines, if we are to accumulate knowledge in a progressive way (Checkel 1997; Shapiro and Wendt 2005; Walker 2010).

This panel invites policy scholars to take up this challenge and propose innovative frameworks and possibly concrete theories of the policy process that incorporate emerging realities of the policy process, particularly in light of the challenges posed by globalisation to PS. Papers particularly developing and fine tuning the Policy Regimes Framework/Perspective are encouraged.

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