Skip to main content

Unit information: Power, Politics and the Policy Process in 2017/18

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Power, Politics and the Policy Process
Unit code SPOLM1060
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Ayres
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description

This unit explores the whole process of public policy beginning from the big picture of the global economy through the complex issues of which policies are chosen for inclusion on the political agenda and the role of individuals in shaping policy design. The concept of political power influences every stage of the policy process and forms a central strand running through the entire course. The unit introduces students to the main theories that seek to explain the nature of policy making and debates these in light of contemporary issues about the nature, scope and effecticeness of policy in modern societies.

This unit has three main aims:

  • To introduce students to the literature of policy studies and to the development of the field over the last fifty years,
  • To introduce the main theories that seek to explain the nature of policy making, including agenda setting, policy formation, implementation and policy evaluation,
  • To enable students to apply these theories to understanding and explaining various aspects of policy making in different settings.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of the unit students should:

  • Understand the range of theories and models of the policy process,
  • Be able to critically review contemporary debates about the nature, scope and effectiveness of policy,
  • Be able to develop a better understanding of policy and policy making in their chosen fields.

Teaching details

The unit will involve a mix of lectures, set reading, group discussions and practical exercises.

Assessment Details

An essay of 4000 words in which students should demonstrate an understanding of relevant theories and modes of policy making, and a familiarity with contemporary policy debates and different approaches to policy making.

Reading and References

  • Bovaird, T. and Loffler, E. (eds) (2016) Public management and governance, Abingdon, Routledge.
  • Birkland, T. A. (2016) An Introduction to the Policy Process: Theories, Concepts and Models of Public Policy Making, 4th Edition, Abingdon, Routledge.
  • Cairney, P. (2016) The Politics of Evidence-Based Policy Making, Palgrave, London.
  • Chakrabarty, B. and Chand, P. (2016) Public Policy: Concept, Theory and Practice, London, Sage.
  • Farnsworth, K. and Irving, Z. (2015) Social Policy in Times of Austerity, Bristol, Policy Press.
  • Hupe, P., Hill, M. and Buffat, A. (2016) Understanding Street-level Bureaucracy, Bristol, Policy Press.
  • Hill, M. and Varone, F. (2017) The Public Policy Process, 7th Edition, Abingdon, Routledge.
  • Hudson, J., Lowe, S. and Horsfall, D. (2017) Understanding the Policy Process, Bristol, Policy Press.
  • Klijn, E. H. and Koppenjan, J. (2016) Governance Networks in the Public Sector (London: Routledge).
  • Peters, G. P. (2015) Advanced Introduction to Public Policy, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar.
  • Pollitt, C. (2016) Advanced Introduction to Public Management and Administration, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar.

Feedback