Saint-Louis University - Bruxelles

SPOL1322 - Public Policy Analysis

Credits : 5

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

Timetable :
First term
Monday from 13:30 to 15:30 at 119 Marais 3100

Language of instruction :

Learning outcomes :
The aims of the course are
1) to introduce students to the main paradigms, theories and concepts of public action analysis;
2) to allow 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 with regards to the contemporary mutations of public action.

Prerequisites :
For the Bachelor in Law :

For the Bachelor in History :

For the Bachelor in Information and Communication :
  or the courses :
  ESPO1160 - Sociology

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

For the Bachelor in Philosophy :

For the Bachelor in Political Sciences: General :
  or the courses :
  ESPO1160 - Sociology

For the Bachelor in Sociology and Anthropology :
  or the courses :
  ESPO1160 - Sociology

Co-requisites :

Course contents :
With the transformation of its object, with the pluralisation of its actors, instruments and intervention levels (regionalisation, Europeanization), as well as with a transformation of public action 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 broader study of their construction and implementation processes. From a disciplinary point of view, the analysis of public action lies at the confluence of several approaches of Political Science and Sociology.

The issues and themes discussed in class are 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 :
Description of the ex-cathedra lectures:
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 fields of social and environmental policies.
Description of the additional activity (AA impliquante):
Compulsory readings are associated to each class.

Assessment methods and criteria :
The final assessment is based on a two hour and a half written examination. This examination includes questions of theoretical and conceptual knowledge, analyses of real situations related to current events and questions on the compulsory readings.

Recommended or required reading :
A specific bibliography is handed out to the students, including compulsory readings. The main reference books, to complement the course 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.
- BOUSSAGUET Laurie, JACQUOT, Sophie et RAVINET Pauline. Dictionnaire des politiques publiques, Paris, Presses de Science Po, 2010.

Other information :
The slides are given to the students right after each session. A syllabus is available at the beginning of the course.