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ECPR Standing Group on the European Union 10th Biennial Conference LUISS, Rome

The Escalation Dynamics of Policy Conflicts

Panel Number
Panel Chair
Imrat Verhoeven
University of Amsterdam
Panel Co-Chair
Wouter Van Dooren
Universiteit Antwerpen
Panel Discussant
Wouter Van Dooren
Universiteit Antwerpen

25/08/2018 09:00 - 10:40
Building: VMP 9 Floor: 3 Room: A315
Panel proposal

The escalation dynamics of policy conflicts Panel proposal for the ECPR General Conference, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg 22-25 August 2018.

Panel organizers: Dr. Imrat Verhoeven, Department of Political Science, University of Amsterdam,
Dr. Wouter van Dooren, Department of Political Science, University of Antwerp,

This panel brings together interpretive studies on the dynamics of policy conflicts. Escalation is a key dynamic in policy conflict - along with stalemate, and settlement - and the one that holds the key to the volatility of many policy issues. Yet escalation is often neglected within the field of interpretative policy analysis, while stalemate and settlement are addressed by scholars like Schön and Rein, Putnam and Wondolleck, and Forester.

From an interpretive perspective, conflict escalation can be seen as clashing meanings in framing contests between various governmental organizations or between governmental organizations and NGOs, social movements, or ad hoc citizen action groups. However, interpretive policy analysists and social movement scholars often seek relative static explanations of conflict, instead of focusing on the dynamics of how conflict plays out or how framing processes take place within contexts of strategic political considerations. In this panel we seek to find ways to move beyond static approaches and to develop an interpretive analytic vocabulary suited to the escalation dynamics of policy conflicts.

Such an interpretive vocabulary builds on the three pillars of deliberative policy analysis. It is interpretive by acknowledging that meaning is constantly negotiated during contentious interactions. It is practice-oriented in its focus on how the need for players to act upon the situation at hand contributes to the conflict dynamics. Finally, such an interpretive vocabulary is deliberative by accounting for the practical judgements made by players as part of their communication with their allies, their opponents, and bystanders.

This panel welcomes theoretical and empirical papers that try to capture the dynamics driving the escalation of policy conflicts from an interpretive perspective. Relevant analytical aspects are:
- Framing processes or the production of stories
- Broader discourses that these meaning production processes can draw on
- Emotional appeals enclosed in meaning production
- Scientific controversies and the negotiation of knowledge in public controversies
- The role of events feeding into and changing meaning production

Policy conflicts can involve many actors such as governmental organizations, citizens, NGOs, corporations, social movements, and the media.

This panel proposal is endorsed by Tamara Metze and Henk Wagenaar, the chairs of Section S19 'Deliberative Policy Analysis: Looking Back and Looking Forward'.

Paper List

Title Details
Competing with Escalation: Reconstruction and Externalization as Alternative Conflict Dynamics View Paper Details
Governmental Activism Against Dutch Offshore Windmill Parks View Paper Details
Policy Controversies: the Contribution of the Visual to Open Up or Close Down Debates View Paper Details
'Public Support' and the End of Conflict. Why Public Support is Impossible to Attain and Problematic to Aspire View Paper Details
The (Hungry) Wolf is Back! Conflict Expansion in Wildlife Protection View Paper Details
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