Symbolic Politics and Policy Change
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: The University of Alabama Press
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This project began as an article manuscript that Critical Policy Studies editor Stephen Griggs urged me to revise and resubmit in response to anonymous reviewer comments. I gave it a try. Problem was, by the time I responded to the issues raised in the reviews, the manuscript had expanded to 50 pages, too many for a typical journal article. ...
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There has always been a part-sociological, part-journalistic aspect to my interest in public affairs, and the merging of policy discourse and social practice in this book may have something to do with that predisposition. Also, my disciplinary training and scholarly interest in public affairs most certainly has shaped aspects of the book. ...
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Governing Narratives draws from discourse theory for its conceptual precedents. Torgerson (2003, 121–122) wrote adroitly about the implications of framing a thesis in terms of discourse: “By speaking of policy discourse, we begin to frame the policy world in a decisively new way, clearly locating both analysts and citizens ...
2. The Mobilization of Stories
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The study of public policy has emphasized the importance of communication from its earliest days. Pioneer policy scholar Harold Lasswell, who was also a communication theorist, wrote a book about propaganda. His seminal article in Policy Sciences (1970) was attentive to the role of persuasion strategies in the policy process. ...
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For the big-brained animal that speaks, the struggle over language and meaning has surpassed the more typical animal struggle over territory and food. In this chapter, meaning making depends on processes of connotation and association. Deferring to the connotative power of language, a narrative approach necessarily avoids issuing stable, authoritative definitions, ...
4. The Politics of Changing Practices
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In this chapter, I first portray the realm of practice, exemplified by public administration, as thoroughly imbued with the potential for political challenge. Public administration’s façade of neutrality recalls the strategy of the readerly text, but in the daily practices of public administration the writerly text is in evidence, particularly at moments of impasse. ...
5. Narrative Performance
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Before we get to the performance of symbiotic networks of meanings, connotations, objects, practices, and narratives, some advance work will be necessary. Values, habits, feelings, and instrumental rationality have all been gathered into ideographs at various points in the book thus far. ...
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The idea of mobilizing symbols that shape policy narratives begins to take shape with the connotative associations inherent in the term ideography. Ideography, in turn, directs attention to semantic associations, to similarities and differences in symbolic meanings, to emotional resonance, to value orientation. ...
Appendix 1: Narratives in Drug Policy
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Appendix 2: Environmental Policy Discourse
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Page Count: 160
Publication Year: 2012