Problems powerpoint by 2Mpof4CX


									The Framing of
Policy Problems
     PA 306
           Problem Definition
   Rationality project: “statement of a
    goal and the discrepancy between it
    and the status quo.”
    • Question of observation and arithmetic
   But, we learned earlier in the
    discussion of goals that there are no
    fixed goals or positions, but rather
    competing conceptions of abstract
                   In the Polis:
   “Problem definition is never simply a
    matter of defining goals and measuring
    our distance from them. It is rather the
    strategic representation of situations. ”
    Stone p. 133

   Problems are portrayed by actors in a way
    that promotes their favored course of
    action, wins people to their side, and
    provides leverage over opponents.
    So how are problems defined?
   No scientific and objective ‘best approach’ for all
   Actors tell stories
    •  Using symbols and conventional literary devices
    •  Using numbers to tell stories
    •  Stories about causes of problems
    •  Stories about interests: who is affected, and what they
       should do
   We want to learn how to look at problems from multiple
    perspectives to achieve the best problem definition
   “Symbols are collectively created. Any
    good symbolic device, one that works to
    capture the imagination, also shapes our
    perceptions and suspends skepticism, at
    least temporarily. Those effects are what
    make symbols political devices. They are
    a means of influence and control, even
    though it is often hard to tell with symbols
    exactly who is influencing whom.” Stone
Symbolic representation construed
as four aspects:
   Narrative stories —provide
    explanation of how the world works
   Synecdoches—figures of speech in
    which a part is used to represent the
   Metaphors-- seeing the likeness
    between two things
   Ambiguity—capacity to have
    multiple meanings Stone p.137-138
         Variations of stories:
Story of decline —things have gotten
     (Moral values; Loss of wetlands and
  sandbars in Louisiana; Health care
 Recitation of facts and figures to show
  how things have gotten worse.
    • E.g. War on poverty, selective use of facts and
   “In the beginning, things were pretty
    good. But they got worse. In fact, right
    now, they are nearly intolerable.
    Something must be done.” Stone p.138
Stymied progress story
    “In the beginning things were terrible.
  Then things got better, thanks to a certain
  someone. But now somebody or
  something is interfering with our hero, so
  things are going to get terrible again.”
                           Stone pp.139, 143
   E.g. War on poverty: minimum wage
    peaked in 1972
   Also Told by groups resisting regulation…
Change-is-only-an-illusion story
 “You always thought things were getting

  worse (or better). But you were wrong.
  Let me show you some evidence that
  things are in fact going in the opposite
  direction decline (or improvement) was
  an illusion.” Stone p. 142
 1927 vs. 2005 in New Orleans

 Crime
Story of helplessness and control
    “The situation is bad. We have always
  believed that the situation was out of
  control, something we had to accept but
  could not influence. Now, however, let me
  show you that in fact we can control
  things…” Stone p. 143
 Natural disasters?

 Terrorism?

 Relates to liberty, controlling our own lives
 “Its plot moves us from the realm of fate

  to the realm of control, but it claims to
  show that all along control has been in the
  hands of a few who have used it to their
  benefit and concealed it from the rest of
  us.” Stone p.143
 E.g. cancer alley, corruption and pollution

 The many need to rise up against the few
   “Locates control in the very people
  who suffer the problem.”
    Homelessness; poverty      Stone p.144

   Common to all of these is the
    motivation to seize control
       Use of anecdotes—individual examples
    to illustrate a larger point.
       “It is common in politics that one part
    of a problem particularly catches the
    popular imagination and confines the
    policy response to that part of the
    problem.” Stone p.146
   E.g. welfare queens
   Compelling life stories: Rice, Thomas,
   “As with other forms of symbolic representation,
    the synecodoche can suspend our critical thinking
    with its powerful poetry. The strategy of
    focusing on a part of the problem, particularly
    one that can be dramatized as a horror story,
    thus is likely to lead to skewed strategy. It is a
    good organizing tool, because it can make a
    problem concrete, allow people to identify with
    someone else, and mobilize anger. Also it
    reduces the scope of the problem, and thereby
    makes it more manageable. The extreme version
    of this strategy is reducing a large scale problem
    to a single instance.” Stone p.147-148
   “On the surface, [metaphors] simply draw a
    comparison between one thing and another, but
    in a more subtle way they usually imply a whole
    narrative story and a prescription for action.”
    Stone p.148
   “Buried in every policy metaphor is an
    assumption that if a is like b, then the way to
    solve a is to do what you would do with b.
    Because policy metaphors imply prescription,
    they are a form of advocacy.” Stone p.149
          Common metaphors
   Social institutions as living
    organisms. Stone p.149
   Natural laws
    • Social Darwinism
    • Futility thesis—futile for people to pursue
      solutions. Stone p. 149-150
    • Law of unintended consequences—helping
      those in need actually leads to more
      dependence.—Charles Murray. Stone p.150
    • Works well with synecdoche
   Machines and mechanical devises
      Balance—checks and balances
      “Cogs”     Stone p.150-151
   Wedges and inclines
    • “Foot in the door”
    • domino theory
    • “Slippery slope” (Stone p.152)
   Escalations
          Ladders        Stone p.152
   Containers
          Power vacuum
          Mopping up
   Disease
        “Imply a story of decline.” Stone
        Poverty as pathology Stone p.153
        Health Forests Initiative
   War
        Epic competition Stone p.154
            Normative leaps
   Does the description of a problem
    imply a solution, and do we make
    the normative leap?
    • E.g. Natural capital investing in
      natural capital
        Key questions pertaining to
   “What is the underlying narrative?
   Does it make sense?
   Does the metaphor seem to obviate
    the need for evidence, or does it bias
    the kind of information opponents
    might bring to bear on a conflict?”
    Stone p.156
   What is religious freedom? Equal
   “Ambiguity enables the
    transformation of individual
    intentions and actions into collective
    results and purposes. Without it,
    cooperation and compromise would
    be far more difficult, if not
    impossible.” Stone p.157
   “Ambiguity enables leaders to carve out
    a sphere of maneuvering hidden from
    public view, where they can take
    decisive action on a problem. Legislators
    can satisfy demands to ‘do something’
    about a problem by passing a vague
    statute with ambiguous meaning, then
    letting administrative agencies hash out
    the more conflictual details behind the
    scenes.” Stone p.159
    • Did the mayor of Houston order an evacuation
      or not?
   Ambiguity allows policy makers to placate
    both sides in a conflict by ‘giving the
    rhetoric to one side and the decision to
    the other.’… leaders can perform the
    magic of making two different decisions at
    once.” Stone p.159
    • Healthy forests and clear skies initiatives
   facilitates negotiation and
    compromise because it allows opponents
    to claim victory from a single resolution.”
    Stone p.159
   Counting is used to tell stories
   Bush and Brown’s use of numbers
    How do we count? How do we
   “Unemployed”…
   “Homeless”…
   “At-Risk”…
   “Handicapped”…
   “Black”…
   “Poor”…
   The “middle class”…
   Every number is a political claim about
    ‘where to draw the line.’ Stone p. 167
    • Are we counting the right thing?
    • Inclusion and exclusion
   “Numbers are the opposite of symbols—
    they are not ambiguous.” Stone p.165
    • But what do they mean? Interpretation is more
      important than the numbers themselves.
    • Numbers act like metaphors. Stone p.165
   “Like metaphors, numbers make
    normative leaps. Measures imply a
    need for action, because we do not
    measure things except when we
    want to change them or change our
    behavior in response to them.” Stone
    Relationship Between Numbers
    and Stories
   “Numbers never stand by themselves
    in policy debates, they are clothed in
    words and symbols and carried in
    narrative stories…” Stone p.185
     Why Counting is Political
   Includes decisions about inclusion
    and exclusion
   Implies norms about how much is
    too much, too little or just right
   Allow for ambiguity
   Tells stories
   Create illusion of control, boil
    complex issues down to numbers.
   Creates a community
    • Therefore essential instrument in
      political mobilization
   Offers conflict resolution
    through arithmetic
    • e.g. Roe vs. Wade
   Help bolster authority of those
    who count
           Numerical strategies
   Reactivity– people react to being measured
    • Is reward or punishment based on count?
   Counting makes us notice things
   Can stimulate demand for change
   What we count is critical. Measurers have power
    • How many casualties in the Iraq war?
    • Setting boundaries—how much does a warplane cost?
   Alliances between measured and measurers
   Numbers don’t speak for themselves
   “We often think we have defined a
    problem when we have described its
   “In the polis, causal stories are
    strategically crafted with symbols and
    numbers and then asserted by political
    actors who try to make their versions the
    basis of policy choices. Causal stories are
    essential political instruments for shaping
    alliances and for settling the distribution of
    benefits and costs.” Stone p.189
   The relationship between:
           Actions & Consequences
   Actions:
    • Unguided
    • Purposeful
   Consequences:
    • Intended
    • Unintended
                 Intended                 Unintended

Actions    MECHANICAL                    ACCIDENTAL
           CAUSE: We did our best        CAUSE:
Unguided   with the levies, but failed   Hurricanes happen
           Poor people poor by choice;   CAUSE: People were
           People build homes in         not aware of flooding
Guided     floodplains because they      problems, corporations
           know government will pay      thought no one would be
           for them; Money not           harmed by draining
           allocated to protect poor     wetlands, etc.
           people because politicians
           know they have no power.
   Much of politics is trying to change
    people’s perception of causality.
   Weakest positions are mechanical
    cause and inadvertent cause.
    Strongest are intentional and
           Complex Causality
   Complex systems
   Institutional complexity
   Historical complexity
   Not popular in politics, as there is not
    one thing to target.
   Can be used to avoid blame.
   Hence one of the biggest tensions
    between social science and real-
    world politics: social scientists tend
    to see complex causes of social
    problems, while in politics, people
    search for immediate and simple
    causes.” Stone p.197
              Causal Strategies
   Show problems is act of nature
   Show something formerly interpreted as
    accidental is actually result of human
   Show that effects of an action were
    secretly intended
   Show that low probability was accepted as
    calculated risk
   Show that causes are complex and large
    scale change is needed.
      What leads to acceptance of
   Being accepted by public is one test of
   Ultimate success is acceptance by policy
   Visibility, access to media, proponents in
    prominent positions
   Capture or responds to national mood
   Entails no need to shake established order
   Court of law and science
    • How much does this hold true?
       Using causes in the Polis
   Challenge or protect existing social order
   Assign responsibility
   Legitimize and empower certain actors as ‘fixers’
    of the problem
    • No bid contracts in Iraq
   Create new alliances
    • among victims
    • “Causal theories serve as devices for building alliances
      between groups who have problems and groups who
      have solutions.” Stone p.208
   “Shifting the location of responsibility on a causal
    chain can restructure alliances.” Stone p.208
    • Look at issues such as gun control, drunk driving, global
      warming, etc.
         What caused Katrina?
   Wrath of God?
   Global warming?
   Normal oscillation?
   Building a city below waterline?
   Not allowing the river to flood and replenish sediments?
   Loss of wetlands due to industry (oil?)
   Toxic waste emissions in New Orleans?
   Bush administration turning down requests for money to
    rebuild levees?
   Lack of response by Bush administration?
   Lack of preparation by local government?
   Inequality that did not allow poor to evacuate, and that
    forced them to live in most dangerous areas?
   Who a problem affects may be more
    important than who causes it
   “The quintessential political points of
    view define problems not by their
    causes, but by their effects. Who is
    affected? In what way? Do they
    know it?” Stone p.210
   “Interests, in the language of politics, are
    the active side of effects, the result of
    people experiencing or imagining effects
    and attempting to influence them.
   Effects do not become important in
    politics until they are translated into
    demands. Thus, one of the central
    questions in political analysis of public
    policy is how, when, and why effects are
    converted to political interests.” Stone p.210
         Issues with Interests
   Difference between real interests and
    political demands
   People can be mistaken about their
   People do not always translate
    interests into demands.
   False consciousness and lack of
    Concepts of Interest (p. 216)
   Objective and subjective interests
   Group interests—negative vs.
      Paradox of Representation
   “Representation is the process by which
    interests are defined and activated in
    politics. Political organizations, electoral
    candidates, officials, and representatives seek to
    describe an issue… in ways that make it appear
    advantageous or disadvantageous to different
    sets of people. Individuals and groups, in turn,
    decide which organization or candidates to
    support depending on a dual quality:
    representatives give expression to an interest by
    portraying an issue, showing how it affects
    people and persuading them that the portrait is
    accurate; and representatives speak for people in
    the sense of standing for them and articulating
    their wishes in policy debates. P. 215 Stone
   The paradox is that what
    representatives say when they speak
    for their constituents is not the
    constituents’ own words (figuratively
    speaking), but words the
    representatives composed and used
    to persuade their constituents in the
    first place.” Stone p.215
   “the process by which effects and
    experiences are converted in to organized
    efforts to bring about change”
   What leads to mobilization?
   What deters it?
    • Free riding?
    • Influence vs. self interest
   Laws of passion vs. laws of matter
    • Social capital
   Gains vs. losses
    • How we tell the story
   “Participation in collective efforts
    tends to follow the laws of passion
    rather than the laws of matter…
    Collective action is more like a sports
    competition than a bargaining unit.”
    Stone p.219
   Social capital —stockpiles of
    collective norms, trust and social
    networks that help develop bonds
    and bridges. Stone p.220
   The intensity of effects —more
    likely to mobilize around issues that
    directly affect the individual. Stone p.221-
Concentrated vs. Diffused interests
   Diffused benefits
   Concentrated benefits
   Diffused costs
   Concentrated costs

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