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The governance of problems

The governance of problems: Puzzling, powering and participation

Robert Hoppe
Copyright Date: 2010
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  • Book Info
    The governance of problems
    Book Description:

    Contemporary democracies need to develop a better governance of problems, as all too often, policy is a sophisticated answer to the wrong problem. This book offers a compelling approach to public policy-making as problem processing, bringing together aspects of puzzling, powering and participation, relating them in interesting and different ways to cultural theory, to issues about networks, to models of democracy and modes of citizen participation. Part of a growing body of work in policy analysis literature, the book is clearly written and accessibly presented, making this an ideal text for academics and postgraduate students.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-630-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of boxes, figures and tables
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. About the author
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
    Rob Hoppe
  6. ONE A problem-processing perspective on governance
    (pp. 1-22)

    People are problem-processing animals. Not that we are all worrywarts, of course. But people do tend to be concerned about conditions they feel uneasy about. They brood over situations they experience as uncomfortable or troublesome, especially if they see no obvious way out. One might call this the substantive logic of problem processing: experiencing an uncomfortable situation, diagnosing the nature of the problem and figuring out what to do to solve, or at least, alleviate the problem. Most problems have a personal character; they concern people as problem owners, their families, relatives, friends, colleagues, fellow members of sports clubs and...

  7. TWO The governance of problems: a map
    (pp. 23-58)

    Much has already been written on responsive governance. This book brings together issues that are traditionally treated separately: the analysis of problems (puzzling), the politics of problem framing and network management (powering) and the politics of political participation. The conceptual ‘umbrella’ to be used for integrating these different themes isproblem structuring. It is a powerful analytic concept, which manages to integrate a lot of political and policy science insights in an easily grasped way.

    First, this chapter deals conceptually with the question: what is problem structuring? Second, using the development of the welfare state and, particularly, the events of...

  8. THREE Analysing policy problems: a problem-structuring approach
    (pp. 59-90)

    This chapter introduces the typology of policy problems that underlies the rest of the book. This requires some preliminary conceptual work. Choosing a social-constructivist approach, the first section develops the perspective of a politics of meaning. It views politics as the collective attempt to control a polity’s shared response to the adversities and opportunities of the human condition. The second section gives an overview of how others have approached the social and political analysis of policy issues or problems. Here the proposal is to look at problem structuring as socio-cognitive processes that frame political task environments. From this perspective, four...

  9. FOUR Cultures of public policy problems
    (pp. 91-120)

    Why do some proximate policy makers prefer to frame and define problems as (over)structured and not un(der)structured? May one predict that policy makers who adhere to different cultures or ways of life will be more inclined to construct and process some problem types rather than other types? How about the congruence between policy makers’ preferred ways of problem framing and structuring, and the cultural inclinations of people in civil society?

    This chapter constructs a culturalist theory of the socio-political contexts of problem framing and structuring in the public domain in Western welfare states. Proximate and authoritative policy makers mobilise cultural...

  10. FIVE Problem types and types of policy politics
    (pp. 121-144)

    The previous chapter looked at translation and framing dynamics from the perspective of the distribution of cultures in society. It inquired into congruencies of citizens’ ways of life with policy makers’ styles and strategies in problem framing and structuring. This chapter will deal withpolicy politicsin policy networks. If policy making is intertwined cogitation and interaction (Wildavsky, 1980 [1979]), then policy politics is the combination of types of cognitive processes and styles of interaction, characteristic for problem processing in an issue domain. Policy politics is the specific mode or style of policy making among the set of political actors,...

  11. SIX Problem-structuring dynamics and meta-governance
    (pp. 145-166)

    This chapter explores a theory of problem-structuring dynamics. It follows the structuration logic proposed by Giddens (1979), showing how policy actors can influence the nature of institutionalised systems of interaction while at the same time being constrained by them. On the one hand, problem-frame shifts and the possibilities for policy change depend on the structure of policy networks. A closed, institutionalised policy network differs from an open, emergent or decaying network. Part of the difference is in shaping different types of policy-making processes, with different capacities for problem processing, and, therefore, speed, scope and direction of policy change and innovation....

  12. SEVEN Making policy analysis doable and reflexive
    (pp. 167-194)

    Chapters Three through Six dealt with the transition dynamics of the relation between policy designs and the socio-political contexts of cultures and policy networks. Now the focus moves to the realms of framing and design dynamics in the knowledge context of designing policies (see Figure 2.4, Chapter Two). This knowledge context is made up of three elements:

    citizens’ and civic associations’experiential constructionsof knowledge deemed relevant for interpreting what policies mean to them;

    theknowledge constructions of practitionerswith active roles in policy networks; and

    the constructions of those who deal in ascientificway with problems and policies....

  13. EIGHT The plural democracies of problems: a meta-theory
    (pp. 195-214)

    Previous chapters have approached problem structuring in a policy- or programme-centred way. In the next two chapters, the focus is broadened to a polity-centred approach (Skocpol, 1992). If there are different types of public problems, the normative implication seems to be that political regimes should be able to equally well handle all four policy problem types. However, are polities robust against all problem types?

    Representative and aggregative democracy frequently appears wedded to the metaphysics of a unified political will of ‘we-the-people’, to be uniformly imposed on a ‘generalised’ citizen. Therefore, democratic systems are adept in handling routine issues of large-scale...

  14. NINE Public engagement and deliberative designs
    (pp. 215-242)

    Applied to political regimes or systems as a whole, the meta-theory of plural democracies of problems has strong normative and prescriptive implications. Any policy-making system ought to be sufficiently robust and flexible to encompass in its political repertoire all four problem-structuring approaches, types of policy networks, styles of doable policy analysis, and democracy types. To the extent they have, moreover, they also ought to be able to rebalance the weight of these four modes in accordance with the development of dominant problem framings. That is, governance systems ought to be capable of flexible shifts from rule and analysis/instruction learning, to...

  15. TEN Responsible and hopeful governance of problems
    (pp. 243-262)

    This final chapter is devoted to reflecting on the answers to the questions formulated in Chapter Two. It looks back on the intellectual journey in this book, and asks how far we have come. Thus, the first section is a succinct list of answers to the questions raised about the governance of problems – about the meaning of the ‘governance of problems’ perspective itself, about the translation dynamics insocio-political contexts, about the framing and design dynamics orpolicy-analytic aspects, and about participation and democracy from an institutional orpolity-oriented perspective. The second section picks up an implied question that...

  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 263-292)
  17. Index
    (pp. 293-302)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 303-303)