© 2014

The Political Process of Policymaking

A Pragmatic Approach to Public Policy


Part of the Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy book series (PEPP)

Table of contents

About this book


Philippe Zittoun analyses the public policymaking process focusing on how governments relentlessly develop proposals to change public policy to address insoluble problems. Rather than considering this surprising Sisyphean effort as a lack of rationality, the author examines it as a political activity that produces order and stability.


Public Policy Policymaking Policy Analysis Politics Discourses Argumentation Pragmatic approach decision-making Government Policy policymaking politics

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.LET-ENTPEUniversity of LyonFrance

About the authors

Philippe Zittoun is Research Professor of Political Science at LET-ENTPE, University of Lyon, France. He is Vice-Chair of the IPSA 'Public Policy' Research Committee and coordinator of the International Conference on Public Policy. He is also a member of the editorial board of several international journals such as Critical Policy Studies, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, Policy and Society. His research focuses on understanding the policymaking process and, in particular, on the importance of discursive struggles, argumentative strategies, political aspects and the role of actors.

Bibliographic information

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"Despite much lip-service given to the need to understand the profoundly political nature of public policies, there is a distinct tendency in many studies to address the subject in a mechanical way, treating the definition of policy goals and the articulation of the means to achieve them as technical issues subject to a precise instrumental logic and rationality. This excellent volume by Philippe Zittoun avoids this error and takes on the analysis of the political construction of public policy head-on. It develops and refines key definitions and methods for thepolitical analysis of public policy-making, from problem construction to solution 'bricolage' and the development and analysis of the argumentative strategies used to propagate solutions and legitimize

them. This is essential reading for all students of policy-making." Micheal Howlett, Burnaby Mountain Chair, Simon Fraser University, Canada

"All too often politics is underplayed in the analysis of the policy process. In The Political Process of Policymaking Professor Zittoun offers a refreshing corrective to this neglect. He is also to be commended for his attention of the role the political construction of policy objects and events, as well as his examination of the role of communication and argumentation as they play out across the policy process as a whole, from agenda-setting to evaluation. Not least important is the fact that the book opens the way to a much needed and long overdue exchange between policy scholars in the English and French speaking worlds. This is by all accounts a seminar service to the field." Frank Fischer, Professor of Politics and Global Affairs, Rutgers University, USA

"Philippe Zittoun's book provides an excellent discussion of policymaking in France, and the interactions among levels of government within that political system. This is not, however, just a book on France but provides insights into more general theoretical and analytic questions about public policy." B. Guy Peters, Maurice Falk Professor of Government, University of Pittsburgh, USA