Edited by H. K. Colebatch and Robert Hoppe
Chapter 16: Frames and framing in policymaking
How policymakers conceive of – which is to say, frame – their problems, options, constraints, resources and even the policy fields in which they work, is hugely consequential for understanding the ways in which they conduct their conflicts and strike whatever settlements they do. This chapter reviews definitions and types of frame and policymakers’ use (framing) of these conceptions. Against fashionable ‘power of ideas’ theories, the chapter argues that very often the really important frames are ‘thought styles’ of reasoning rather than those which set out substantive claims or worldviews. Moreover, it argues that frames and framing themselves require explanation and should not be taken as fundamental. The neo-Durkheimian argument is presented that informal institutional ordering of accountabilities among policymakers provides more convincing explanations of the range of variation in most basic kinds of frame, why people reach for some frames rather than others, why frames change and therefore why policies shift.
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