Knowledge, Policymaking and Learning for European Cities and Regions
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Knowledge, Policymaking and Learning for European Cities and Regions

From Research to Practice

Edited by Nicola F. Dotti

This book provides theories, experiences, reflections and future directions for social scientists who wish to engage with policy-oriented research in cities and regions. The ‘policy learning’ perspective is comprehensively discussed, focusing on actors promoting ‘policy knowledge’ and interaction among different stakeholders. The book also aims to provide practical insights for policy-makers and practitioners interested in research-based approaches to cities and regions.
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Chapter 12: Visual framing for policy learning: internet as the ‘eye of the public’

Tamara Metze


Policy learning about policy controversies can benefit from critical and opposing citizens, activists and NGOs. Rather than attempting to educate this ‘ignorant’ public, these actors and their framings – both in words and images – of policy issues should be included in policy learning as an important source of information. In this chapter, visual framings have been explored in the case of the shale gas controversy in the Netherlands. This study demonstrates that the visuals distributed on the internet are most of all ‘referential’, informational images; while, some ‘condensation’ – emotion stirring images – are constructed. However, very often the images convey information about emotions, concerns and controversial ‘facts’, and referential images contain normative messages. For policy learning, these images can be used as information about (1) concerns of stakeholders; (2) interpretive struggles over facts and uncertainties; and (3) reframing of a policy issue, either tacitly or in reflective conversations.

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