Public Policy Circulation
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Public Policy Circulation

Arenas, Agents and Actions

Edited by Tom Baker and Christopher Walker

Policy-making is more globally connected than ever before. Policy ideas, experiences and expertise circulate with great speed and over great distances. But who is involved in moving policy, how do they do it, and through which arenas? This book examines the work involved in policy circulation. As the first genuinely interdisciplinary collection on policy circulation, the book showcases theoretical approaches from across the social sciences—including policy diffusion, transfer and mobility—and offers empirical perspectives from across the world.
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Chapter 3: Seeing is believing? Understanding policy tourism as an arena for policy circulation

Tom Baker and Pauline McGuirk


Why does policy tourism remain a popular and influential method of policy circulation in an age of information abundance? Framed by a case study of homelessness policy tourism to New York City, this chapter suggests that policy tourism remains popular because it allows for (1) thinking outside the everyday strictures of the bureaucratic workplace; (2) the development of associational bonds between policy tourists, and between tourists and hosts; (3) the verification of information; and (4) the legitimation of decisions/positions. Noting the powerful influence that tourist encounters have on policy tourists, the chapter then discusses the production of authenticity. The chapter calls for greater attention to the active and affective production of authenticity as a means to better understand policy tourism and its significant impact on policy circulation.

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