Policy networks are a prevalent feature of democratic governance. The policy network approach requires collaboration among interested parties in order to make progress in forming public policy. The various actors in a policy network organize, form coalitions, communicate, coordinate, and compete around policy issues of interest to them. Policy networks are organic entities that may change over time. Depending on the policy issue, today’s allies in a policy network may be tomorrow’s enemies. For example, conservative and libertarian groups may work together to defeat a new tax proposal but may quickly part ways over the legalization of medical marijuana. The operation of policy networks is shaped by the political, social, and economic climate in which they operate.
To prepare for this Assignment:
- Review the articles “Analyzing and Managing Policy Processes in Complex Networks: A Theoretical Examination of the Concept Policy Network and Its Problems” in this week’s Learning Resources. Consider the definitions of policy network presented and the evolving structures and processes associated with the term policy network.
- Review Chapter 1 of “The Network Society from Knowledge to Policy” in this week’s Learning Resources. Consider the effect of networks on society.
- Review the article “The Development of Policy Network Analyses: From Modest Origins to Overarching Frameworks” in this week’s Learning Resources. Consider whether basic concepts of democratic governance play a role in policy networks.
- Review the article “Using the Advocacy Coalition Framework to Understand Freight Transportation Policy Change” in this week’s Learning Resources. Think about how the advocacy coalition framework is used to advance policy change.
- Reflect on the elements of the policy network approach present in the advocacy coalition framework.
- Recall the issue you selected for this week’s Discussion and think about which actors and organizations might be part of the policy network related to the issue.
- Pay particular attention to how actors in a policy network might communicate and coordinate.
- Consider how democratic governance might influence the operation of policy networks.
The Assignment (2–3 pages):
- Briefly describe the issue you selected.
- Describe the actors and organizations in the policy network related to your chosen issue.
- Explain how democratic governance influences the operation of policy networks, specifically the one(s) related to your issue. Next, explain how policy networks influence democratic governance.
- Based on your analysis, draw conclusions and share insights about the relationship between democratic governance and policy networks.
Support your Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are asked to provide a reference list only for those resources not included in the Learning Resources for this course.