Agenda Setting and Policy Development, Higher Education
Bacevic, J., & Nokkala, T. (2018). Agenda Setting and Policy Development, Higher Education. In P. Teixeira, & J. Shin (Eds.), Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions (pp. 1-6). Springer Netherlands. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9553-1_137-1
© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2018
Agenda setting is one of key concepts in the critical or interpretative approaches in the study of policy development. Developed in response to positivist paradigms, which saw policies as largely technical solutions to objectively existing problems, critical or interpretive analysis emphasises the constructed, contingent, and processual nature of policies, in particular the role of differently positioned actors in bringing specific issues to the fore (Fischer, 2003). In this sense, the use of agenda setting in the research on higher education policy is fundamentally related to the questions of political power and influence, and thus to the relationship between longer-term structural change and stability, on the one hand, and individual or collective agency, on the other. In broad terms, agenda setting refers to the capacity of an actor (individual, group, organisation, institution) to define or influence issues on the public agenda. This occurs in two ways: on the one hand, selecting issues seen as important or relevant (thematisation or problematisation); on the other, shaping the way these issues are framed, discussed and interpreted (framing or interpretation). While policy processes normally involve elements of both, their analysis can be traced to two relatively distinct disciplinary traditions, one largely reliant on political science, and the other on communication and media studies. This article summarises the main elements of both traditions, and then delineates their convergences and implications for higher education policy research. ...
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