Public Policy

Chair: Leslie A. Pal (*

*Please do not submit proposals directly to the chair.  All proposals must be submitted online.  Please contact the chair only if you have a question regarding participation on one of the panels.

Public policy has traditionally been seen as a function of the nation-state. It has been about “domestic” policy, and it has been conventionally defined as the domain of state actors – functionaries, bureaucrats, and public officials.

That world no longer exists. With the reordering of power and the shifting of boundaries, several important things have happened. Policy remains a key function of the nation-state, but its formulation and delivery brings in a wide variety of non-state actors. It is no longer entirely domestic, but is coordinated in complicated ways through international and global dynamics and organizations. It is marked by transfer and translation, as ideas swirl around the globe and get adopted in domestic policy processes. It is certainly no longer the domain of functionaries – networks of actors in different institutions engage, cooperate, and challenge the way in which state officials think about and make policy.

The main theme of the public policy session seeks to address these changes in function, domain and actors. Papers are invited on these broad changes, but more specifically:

  • How has the policy process shifted from being state-centric? What does this mean? Who else is engaged and how? What does this mean for policy formulation and delivery?
  • What is the link between the global and the domestic in terms of policy transfer and policy translation? How do policy ideas migrate, and how are they transposed on domestic policy processes?
  • How is policy work changing as the focus shifts from state actors to non-state actors or some combination? How are networks changing the nature of policy processes that used to be much more hierarchical?


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