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Plus ça Change, Plus C’est La Même Chose? A review of Paul Sabatier’s “An advocacy coalition framework of policy change and the role of policy-oriented learning therein”

Abstract

Paul Sabatier’s 1988 Policy Sciences paper, “An advocacy coalition framework of policy change and the role of policy-oriented learning therein” (21:129–168), introduced the advocacy coalition framework (ACF) to the policy discipline. Over the past 30 years, the ACF has become a generalizable theory of policy change. Another feature is the ongoing critical self-assessment and revisions of the framework’s theoretical and empirical assumptions. As a result, there have been many reviews of the ACF. However, the popularity of Sabatier’s contribution and the most cited article in this journal is its wider significance beyond the ACF. A bibliometric analysis of 737 peer-reviewed publications citing this paper is undertaken. This is followed by a summary chronicling ACF reviews and scholarship comparing the ACF with other policy process theories and frameworks.

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(Reproduced with permission from Weible et al. 2009)

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Notes

  1. According to Jenkins-Smith et al. (2018), Sabatier submitted an ACF manuscript to Policy Sciences in 1984, but it was rejected.

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Wellstead, A. Plus ça Change, Plus C’est La Même Chose? A review of Paul Sabatier’s “An advocacy coalition framework of policy change and the role of policy-oriented learning therein”. Policy Sci 50, 549–561 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11077-017-9307-z

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Keywords

  • Advocacy coalition framework
  • Bibliometric method
  • Causality
  • Policy change
  • Policy learning
  • Sabatier