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Analyzing Policy-Making I: Stakeholder and Advocacy Coalition Framework Analysis

  • Hilde Van den Bulck
Chapter

Abstract

As policymaking with regards to media and communication has become a multilayered, multilevel and multi-stakeholder affair, scholars need to pay attention to the who and the how of policymaking. This chapter provides a framework for policy process and decision-making analysis that focuses on stakeholders: their position, views, visibility, power and relationships. It provides a definition of both stakeholder analysis and the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF), followed by a critical evaluation of the pros and cons of these complementary frameworks. Next, it introduces a step-by-step guide to identify, in a systematic fashion, all relevant actors, their arguments and logic, their visibility and prominence in the policy process. This is complemented by a guide to Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith’s ACF, a model to understand the relationships between stakeholders expressive of the specifics of media policymaking structures and mechanisms and of power in the policy process. This is illustrated making reference to two cases: a case of Net neutrality and a case of Public Service Media policymaking, showing how the combination of these approaches allows for an understanding of the role of various actors as well as the relevance of beliefs and values in the struggle to find alliances and to influence policymakers into reaching a particular policy outcome. As stakeholder analysis and ACF are analytical models rather than methods, we add a note on the methods that are most appropriate for this type of analysis. The chapter concludes with reflections on the use of stakeholder and ACF analysis in media and communication policy research.

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Further Reading

  1. Brugha, R., & Varvasovszky, Z. (2000). Stakeholder analysis: A review. Health Policy and Planning, 15(3), 239–246. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cheng, A.-S., Fleischmann, K. R., Wang, P., Ishita, E., & Oard, D. W. (2012). The role of innovation and wealth in the net neutrality debate: A content analysis of human values in congressional and FCC hearings. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 63(7), 1360–1373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Sabatier, P. A., & Jenkins-Smith, H. (1993). Policy change and learning: An advocacy coalition approach. Boulder, CO: Westview.Google Scholar
  4. Sabatier, P. A., & Jenkins-Smith, H. (1999). The advocacy coalition framework: An assessment. In P. A. Sabatier (Ed.), Theories of the policy process (pp. 117–166). Boulder, CO: Westview.Google Scholar
  5. Van den Bulck, H., & Donders, K. (2014). Of discourses, stakeholders and advocacy coalitions in media policy: Tracing negotiations towards the new management contract of Flemish public broadcaster VRT. European Journal of Communication, 29(1), 83–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hilde Van den Bulck
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of CommunicationDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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