Beliefs, Social Identities and Coalition Structures in a Local Policy Subsystem
How do beliefs and social identities contribute to the formation and structure of coalitions in a local policy subsystem in Germany? The Advocacy Coalitions Framework (ACF) assumes that shared policy core beliefs are the major basis of coalitions (Jenkins-Smith et al. 2017). However, secondary beliefs and social identities also may contribute to understand the bundle of resources and joint strategies for action Process (Hornung et al. 2018). In this paper, we show that the ACF and Social Identities in the Policy Process (SIPP) are largely complementary theoretical perspectives on the policymaking process. They share basic concepts and assumptions. Like the ACF, the SIPP also assumes that policy formulation takes place in a subsystem.
Focusing on the local subsystem of transport policy in a major German city provides us with an example with interesting peculiarities. On the one hand, the German parliamentary system leads to hierarchical parties and corporatist organizations that may influence coalition building in policy subsystems. On the other hand, the local level provides us with individual actors that are less bound to these organizations than we observe at the federal level (Fichert 2017). So, complementary to policy core and secondary beliefs, organizational identities as well as sectoral, demographic, local or informal identities could contribute to coalition building. For analyzing the coalition structure, beliefs and identities in the subsystem we have used a questionnaire and conducted some guided interviews with selected actors.
The data set contains information on deep core beliefs, policy core beliefs, secondary beliefs, intensity of linkages between actors, estimations of actors related to perceived closeness of beliefs, organizational identities (f.e. political parties), regional identities, and informal identities. We will discuss hypotheses on the relation of these data like how specific identities and beliefs are correlated and which similarities of identities and beliefs correlate with deep linkages between actors.
Fichert, F. (2017) 'Transport policy planning in Germany - An analysis of political programs and investment masterplans'. European Transport Research Review. doi: 10.1007/s12544-017-0247-7d
Hornung J., Bandelow N.C., Vogeler C.S. (2018) 'Social identities in the policy process'. Policy Sciences. doi: 10.1007/s11077-018-9340-6
Jenkins-Smith, H. C., Nohrstedt, D., Weible, C. M., & Ingold, K. (2017). 'The advocacy coalition framework: An overview of the research program. In C. M. Weible & P. A. Sabatier (Eds.), Theories of the policy process (pp. 135–170). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.