Handbook on Policy, Process and Governing
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Handbook on Policy, Process and Governing

Edited by H. K. Colebatch and Robert Hoppe

This Handbook covers the accounts, by practitioners and observers, of the ways in which policy is formed around problems, how these problems are recognized and understood, and how diverse participants come to be involved in addressing them. H.K. Colebatch and Robert Hoppe draw together a range of original contributions from experts in the field to illuminate the ways in which policies are formed and how they shape the process of governing.
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Chapter 26: From policy typologies to policy feedback

Aynsley Kellow


This chapter examines Theodore J. Lowi’s ‘Arenas of Power’ approach to analysing the policy process, a theoretical approach with considerable – though incompletely fulfilled – _promise. It notes that much of the subsequent related scholarship centred on the political impact of policy has broadened out into the terminology of ‘policy feedback’. It is suggested that, while this has been insightful, it has is less theoretically parsimonious than Lowi’s Arenas of Power. The chapter reviews critically both Lowi’s approach and that of Pierson (as the leading advocate of policy feedback), concluding that Lowi’s approach has been limited by a couple of issues that can be remedied, and that when this is done, the feedback approach — while it provides additional insights — has less justification. It also notes that the social constructivist turn adds value, especially by drawing attention to the significance of normative ideas in impacting the policy process.

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