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Operationalizing Deep Normative Core Belief Systems in Party Democracies

Policy Analysis
Coalition
Methods
Nils C. Bandelow
TU Braunschweig
Nils C. Bandelow
TU Braunschweig
Johanna Hornung
TU Braunschweig
Colette S. Vogeler
TU Braunschweig

Abstract

The ACF originally emerged from the analysis of policy processes under the conditions of US American presidentialism (Sabatier 1988). Later revisions and applications made use of the ACF in parliamentary systems (Sabatier 1998; Sabatier and Weible 2007). However, the prevalence of party politics might impair the concept of subsystem specific advocacy coalitions (Bandelow 2015; Nohrstedt and Olofsson 2016, 33). The institutional conditions of parliamentary party democracies are not only a challenge to the concept of advocacy coalitions, they also interfere with the operationalization of belief systems, which is another major foundation of the ACF. Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith (1993) used a set of dichotomous deep normative core beliefs to be operationalized by content analyses of actors’ statements. These original definitions are tightly linked to environmental policies as most of the first applications of the ACF stem from this field. In parliamentary democracies, most actors define themselves firstly by their membership to a political party or at least their party preference. How is this related to the operationalization of deep normative core beliefs? The paper presents theoretical discussions and a larger dataset gained from a political conflict in Germany to test the correlation between elites’ deep normative beliefs as defined by the ACF and party preferences. Consistent links might enable the use of party preferences as a valid operationalization of deep normative core beliefs. The absence of correlations would raise the question which operationalisation of beliefs is more valid for coalitions in party democracies: the traditional ACF definition or party preferences. The paper will draw conclusions based on the empirical data. The approach might also enable the use of the belief system concept for non-elites, which are not included in the original ACF but become more important because of the strengthening of participatory elements in some Western democracies. References Bandelow, Nils C. 2015. “Advocacy Coalition Framework.” In Handbuch Policy-Forschung [ger], eds. Georg Wenzelburger and Reimut Zohlnhöfer. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 305–24. Nohrstedt, Daniel, and Kristin Olofsson. 2016. “A Review of Applications of the Advocacy Coalition Framework in Swedish Policy Processes.” European Policy Analysis 2 (2): 18–42. Sabatier, Paul A. 1988. “An Advocacy Coalition Framework of Policy Change and the Role of Policy-Oriented Learning therein.” Policy Sciences 21 (2-3): 129–68. ———. 1998. “The Advocacy Coalition Framework: Revisions and Relevance for Europe.” Journal of European Public Policy 5 (1): 98–130. Sabatier, Paul A., and Hank C. Jenkins-Smith, eds. 1993. Policy Change and Learning: An Advocacy Coalition Approach. Theoretical lenses on public policy. Boulder Colo. u.a.: Westview Press. Sabatier, Paul A., and Christopher M. Weible. 2007. “The Advocacy Coalition Framework: Innovations and clarifications.” In Theories of the Policy Process. 2nd ed., eds. Paul A. Sabatier and Christopher M. Weible. New York: Westview Press, 189–220.