Policy & Politics Highlights: our Winter collection

Sarah Brown 1Sarah Brown,
Journal Manager of Policy & Politics

Policy & Politics Highlights collection 1 November 2018 – 31 January 2019.

For our Winter Highlights collection from Policy & Politics, we’ve chosen three of the most popular articles from our recent special issue on Practical Lessons from Policy Theories.

The first article is the introduction to the special issue: Practical Lessons from Policy Theories. It sets out why academics need to translate their research on policy issues for those working in the field and how this is crucially important for both parties. The authors issue a challenge to research scholars who write and speak with so much jargon that their ideas become obfuscated, self referential and of limited utility beyond their own narrow individual concerns. The authors then introduce the rest of the articles in the issue, explaining how each is focused on synthesizing the contributions of this academic research and clarifying what we have learned from eight commonly used theoretical approaches in the field.

The second article is on Narratives as tools for influencing policy change. It promotes the efficacy of story-telling within policy settings, arguing that in a complex world where we are bombarded with information, we naturally seek patterns within that information, to help us make sense of the world and how to act within it. It argues for the critical importance of story -telling within policy settings which abound with uncertainty and ambiguity. The authors identifies five steps for developing good policy narratives and offers guidance on appropriate points of intervention to optimise success.

The final article is entitled Three habits of successful policy entrepreneurs. Offering a constructive critique of the popular multiple streams approach theoretical framework, it seeks to distil three of the most useful lessons from MSA that make policy entrepreneurs so successful. The author summarises: Lesson 1. Don’t focus on bombarding policymakers with evidence, you’ll put them off with too much information. Instead, tell a good story, grab the audience’s interest, and then the audience will demand information. Lesson 2. By the time people pay attention to a problem it’s too late to produce a solution. So, produce your solution then chase problems. Lesson 3. When your environment changes, change your strategy. The author argues that timing and luck matters when making a policy case – but policy entrepreneurs know how to influence timing and help create their own luck.

To read more, download these articles now using the links below:

Weible, Christopher M; Cairney, Paul (2018) ‘Practical lessons from policy theories‘, Policy & Politics, DOI: 10.1332/030557318X15230059147191

Crow, Deserai; Jones, Michael (2018) ‘Narratives as tools for influencing policy change‘, Policy & Politics, 46(2): 217-234. [Open Access]

Cairney, Paul (2018) ‘Three habits of successful policy entrepreneurs‘, Policy & Politics, 46(2): 199-215. [Open Access]

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