Saint-Louis University - Bruxelles

SPOL1322 - Public Policy Analysis

Credits : 3

Lecturers :
Mode of delivery :
Face-to-face , first term, 30 hours of theory.

Timetable :
First term
Monday from 11:00 to 13:00 at 119 Marais 1100

Language of instruction :

Learning outcomes :
The aims of the course are
1) to introduce the students to the main paradigms, theories and concepts of public action analysis;
2) to allow the students, based on the presentation of case studies, to familiarise themselves with the given tools and methodological approach for analysing public action in a specific field;
3) to favour critical and ethical thinking in regards to contemporary mutations of public action.

Prerequisites :
For the Bachelor in Law :

For the Bachelor in History :

For the Bachelor in Information and Communication :

For the Bachelor in Modern Languages and Letters: German, Dutch and English :

For the Bachelor in Philosophy :

For the Bachelor in Economics and Management :

For the Bachelor in Political Sciences: General :

For the Bachelor in Sociology and Anthropology :

Co-requisites :

Course contents :
Related to the transformations of its object, marked by the pluralisation of its actors, instruments and intervention levels (regionalisation, Europeanization), as well as by a transformation of the public action and regulation modes (proceduralisation, contracting, evaluation…), the analysis of public action moves away from a state-centred, decisional and linear vision of public policies to a broadened approach of the construction and implementation processes of public action. From a disciplinary point of view, the analysis of public action lies at the confluence of several approaches of political sciences and sociology.

The issues and themes discussed in class will be the following:
- Definition and delimitation of public action analysis as a discipline: history, object, research fields;
- History and historicity of public action (at a macro level: periodisation of public action and contemporary characterisation; at a meso level: sequential approach of public action);
- Types and configurations of public action actors (institutional and emerging): administration, parties, interest groups, professional and users as policy makers;
- Theoretical perspectives: “instrumental” approach, “cognitive” approach, “neo-institutionalist” approach, “actors” approach;
- Scales of public action (“multi-level governance”);
- Evaluation of public action: Instruments and instrumentalisation.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods :
The lecture is taught jointly or alternately by the two professors in charge of the course. The presentation of the different approaches and dimensions of public action is illustrated by case studies, especially in the field of political sciences.

Assessment methods and criteria :
The final assessment is based on a two hour written examination. This examination includes some questions of theoretical and conceptual knowledge as well as a question relating to the analysis of a real situation out of the news.

Recommended or required reading :
A selective bibliography will be handed out to the students. The main reference books are:
- CANTELLI Fabrizio et GENARD Jean-Louis, Action publique et subjectivité, L.G.D.J., Paris, 2007
- LASCOUMES Pierre et LE GALES Patrick, Sociologie de l'action publique, Armand Colin, Paris, 2007 ;
- KNOEPFEL, Peter, LARRUE, Corinne, VARONE, Frédéric, Analyse et pilotage des politiques publiques, Bâle, Helbing et Lichtenhahan, 2001.
- Dictionnaire des politiques publiques, Paris, Presses de Science Po, 2006.

Other information :
A detailed outline will be handed out for each course session. A syllabus will be available during the first term.