Annual Project Meeting, Maguelone, 9 - 13 July 2018
The annual project meeting of ProAcTA was a great success! Within the first three months of the project, the team members achieved advances in the project work; theoretically, empirically, and strategically. On the first day, the participants, which also included project partners who are not part of the core ProAcTA team, discussed the theoretical foundations of PAF by referring to prominent research in the sociology of elites, public policy and policy process research, and psychology. Following the theoretical clarifications and refinement of PAF, methodological challenges faced by the empirical work were addressed and first results from key informant interviews were presented by each of the project parts.
Strategically, a special focus on the PAF in the international journal “European Policy Analysis“ is planned for spring 2019. Appropriate papers will be solicited possibly from a specific call for papers and the previous work of the project members. One of the goals is to publish coherent and mature guidance for scholars that want to apply the PAF in their field of interest. In the long run, the project team plans to edit a second special issue in a journal on comparative policy process research to outline the dynamics of programmatic action depending on different institutional contexts.
Besides the hard and productive work in the day sessions, the team members had a great time together and intensified the friendship-like cooperation. France’s win of the semifinal that paved the way to their eventual success as world champions was celebrated in the streets of Southern France with fireworks, wine, and good food.
IPPA Workshops in Pittsburgh, 26 - 28 June 2018
From 26 to 28 June 2018, the first IPPA Workshops on Public Policy took place in Pittsburgh, USA. In sum, the members of the ProAcTA team presented six papers in the workshop “Bringing Policy Actors Back In: Relevance and Prospects of Actor-Centered Approaches in Policy Studies“, which was organized by Joseluis Mendez and Patrick Hassenteufel. Five of the presented papers connect directly to our project work.
On Wednesday, Patrick Hassenteufel and William Genieys opened the discussion on the Programmatic Action Framework (PAF) with respect to methodological challenges to analyze policy change when programmatic actors are involved. They presented different approaches to study programmatic actors. The theoretical discussion followed on Thursday when Nils Bandelow presented the joint work of Nils Bandelow, Marc Smyrl and Johanna Hornung. Especially subject to discussion were the scope, assumptions, and hypotheses of PAF and the new figure of PAF, of which the workshop participants eagerly took pictures as it is unpublished so far. Before that, William Genieys and Larry Brown presented a paper on custodians in health care policy in the US to exemplify the traveling capacity of PAF to other political systems.
Not directly applying or addressing the PAF but equally contributing to its development, Brent Epperson presented parts of his PhD dissertation in which he made use of discourse analysis to compare narratives in health care reforms on the federal and state level in the US. The exact role of narratives for PAF is yet to be clarified but consensus exists that they are important for a programmatic actor to share and promote a narrative, both to inwardly bind members and to legitimize a program to the outside.
To conclude the morning session, and just when Germany exited from the World Cup, Johanna Hornung presented most recent joint work with Nils Bandelow on psychological foundations in policy process research. Whereas most frameworks draw on the assumption of a boundedly rational
human being, the prominent social identity approach has been largely neglected, so they advocate an integration of this approach into policy process research in general and PAF in particular.
A special highlight was the new team look in form of the ProAcTA t-shirts. The white polo shirts contain the project logo, the individual name and the website url on the back. Team members now are always visible and easy to identify on conferences. Do not
hesitate to approach us in case you have questions and/or comments on our project.
Initial Project Meeting Before Official Start of ProAcTA, 27 - 30 March 2018
From March 27 to 30, the German project partners welcomed their French and Canadian friends to Braunschweig. Three intensive work days aimed at clarifying challenges before the official start of the project and to get to know the new project members who had not yet participated in the formulation of the project. Consequently, the work meeting started with a short introduction to the project and the team and the distribution of project coordination tasks.
In the evenings, the project members used their time to strengthen their friendship and spend time together. Besides the core members of the ProAcTA team, members of the German team at the Chair of Comparative Politics and Public Policy enriched the evening social events. The team members enjoyed the time away from their hard work, but not without discussing further project-related meetings, steps forward, and plans for mutual visits.
To conclude, all team members are enthusiastically looking forward to the future steps of the project and more intense cooperation. We are confident that our joint project will benefit us both personally and academically while bringing new insights to the health policy field.
We are happy to get in touch!