unc-chSt Gallen

Frank R. Baumgartner
Research Seminar: Framing and Policy Change
Graduate seminar, 16, 17, 23, 24 May 2019

University of St Gallen

frankb@unc.edu; frank.baumgartner@unisg.ch

Course title:
Research Seminar on Framing and Policy Change

Students should have a basic familiarity with the international literature in comparative politics, public policy, and / or public administration. There are no specific course requirements.

Brief description:
This class will focus on the process by which policies get framed, or defined in public discussion. Framing is focusing attention on some elements of a complex public problem rather than others. Politicians constantly attempt to frame issues in ways that are advantageous to their side of the debate, and we often refer derisively to this as “spin.” But framing is inevitable. Furthermore, frames sometimes change over time. Smoking was once seen as glamorous and the tobacco industry was held up as one of the most powerful lobbies in American politics as well as in other countries. Today you can’t smoke in most public places. The concept of gay marriage was not discussed in public in 2000, but today it is the law in many nations. So the course will focus on something you see around you every day, at least if you read the newspapers and pay attention to politics.

We will begin with a review of a number of theories from political science and psychology about how we frame things, about why some frames are more powerful than others, and about how the brain processes information when it makes us comfortable and secure as compared to when it is unwelcome or challenging to our prior beliefs or expectations. We’ll start with a range of foundational literature laying out these theories. Then, with this background, each student will develop a research project applying those and related ideas to a particular example of public policy. The final paper will analyze how frame change and how policy actors struggle and compete over the power of the different frames that make them winners or losers in determining the direction of public policy.

Form of evaluation:

  1. Active participation in course seminars
  2. Agreement with professor by the end of the seminar on a topic for research applying themes from the readings to the public policy debate of interest to the student.
  3. Term paper written on the agree topic, 3,000 words, due two weeks after the completion of the seminar.

Course Schedule

Meeting 1: Thursday May 16, 2019, 14h15-18h00, Introduction and some core readings

(Note: * indicates recommended readings; please try to skim these as well. Please read the other readings more completely. Of course, the more you read the more you learn!)

Campbell, John L. 2002. Ideas, Politics, and Public Policy.  Annual Review of Sociology 28: 21-38.
*Baumgartner, Frank R., and Christine Mahoney. 2008. The Two Faces of Framing: Individual-Level Framing and Collective Issue-Definition in the EU. European Union Politics 9, 3: 435–49.
Stone, Deborah A. 1989. Causal Stories and the Formation of Policy Agendas. Political Science Quarterly 104, 2: 281–300.
Schneider, Anne, and Helen Ingram. 1993. Social Construction of Target Populations: Implications for Politics and Policy. American Political Science Review 87, 2: 334–47.

Meeting 2: Friday May 17, 2019, 9h15-13h00, Cognitive basics and starting points

Lord, Charles G., Lee Ross, and Mark R. Lepper. 1979. Biased Assimilation and Attitude Polarization: The Effects of Prior Theories on Subsequently Considered Evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37 (11): 2098-2109.
*Ditto, Peter H. and David F. Lopez. 1992. Motivated Skepticism: Use of Differential Decision Criteria for Preferred and Nonpreferred Conclusions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 63 (4): 568-84.
*Kunda, Ziva. 1990. The Case for Motivated Reasoning. Psychological Bulletin 108(3): 480-98.
Quattrone, George A., and Amos Tversky. 1988. Contrasting Rational and Psychological Analyses of Political Choice. American Political Science Review 82, 3: 719–736.
*Baumeister, Roy F., Ellen Bratslavsky, Catrin Finkenauer, and Kathleen D. Vohs. 2001. Bad Is Stronger Than Good. Review of General Psychology 5: 323-370. (Note: this article is very long; ok to skim to get the general idea.)
Lerner, J.S., and D. Keltner. 2001. Fear, anger, and risk. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 81, 1: 146–49.
Huntsinger, Jeffrey R. 2013. Anger Enhances Correspondence Between Implicit and Explicit Attitudes. Emotion 13, 2: 350–7.

Meeting 3: Friday May 17, 2019: 14h15-18h00, Episodes and themes; communities of experts; levels of change

Aaroe, Lene. 2011. Investigating Frame Strength: The Case of Episodic and Thematic Frames. Political Communication 28: 207–26.
*Iyengar, Shanto. 1990. Framing Responsibility for Political Issues: The Case of Poverty. Political Behavior12, 1: 19–40.
Haas, Peter M. 1992. Introduction. Epistemic Communities and International Policy Coordination.   International Organization 46 (1): 1-35.
Hall, Peter A. 1993. Policy Paradigms, Social Learning, and the State: The Case of Economic Policymaking in Britain. Comparative Politics 25: 275–96.
*Baumgartner, Frank R. 2013. Ideas and Policy Change. Governance 26, 2: 239–58.

Meeting 4: Thursday May 23, 2019: 9h15-13h00, Over-enthusiasm in public policy: Nuclear power, opioids, and fetal alcohol syndrome as examples

Baumgartner, Frank R., and Bryan D. Jones.  1991. Agenda Dynamics and Policy Subsystems. Journal of Politics 53 (November): 1044–74.

Porter, Jane, and Hershel Jick. 1980. Addiction Rare in Patients Treated with Narcotics. New England Journal of Medicine 302, 2: 123.
Campbell, James N. 1996. APS 1995 Presidential Address. Pain Forum 5: 85–88.
Morone, Natalia E., and Debra K. Weiner. 2013. Pain as the Fifth Vital Sign: Exposing the Vital Need for Pain Education. Clinical Therapeutics 35, 11: 1728–1732.
*Office of National Drug Control Policy. 2017. The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. Washington DC:  Office of National Drug Control Policy. (Note: Only read these two short sections: “Origins of the Current Crisis,” pp. 19-23), and “Appendix 2: History of Opiate Use and Abuse,” pp. 113-114.)

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
*Jones, Kenneth L., David W. Smith, Christy N. Ulleland, and Ann Pytkowicz Streissguth.  1973.  Pattern of Malformation in Offspring of Chronic Alcoholic MothersThe Lancet 1, 7815 (9 June):  1267–71.
Armstrong, Elizabeth M. 1998. Diagnosing Moral Disorder: The Discovery and Evolution of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Social Science and Medicine 47, 12: 2025–2042.

Meeting 5: Friday May 24, 2019: 9h15-13h00, A Professional reform that “worked”: Deinstiutionalization of the mentally ill. One that did not go far: replacing GNP with Gross National Happiness

Mechanic, David, and David A. Rochefort. 1990. Deinstitutionalization: An Appraisal of Reform. Annual Reviews in Sociology 16: 301–27.
Grob, Gerald N. 1995. The Paradox of Deinstitutionalization. Society 32, 5: 51-59.
*Snow, David A., Susan G. Baker, Leon Anderson, and Michael Martin. 1986. The Myth of Pervasive Mental Illness among the Homeless. Social Problems 33, 5: 407–423.

*Sithey, Gyambo, Anne-Marie Thow, and Mu Li. 2015. Gross national happiness and health: lessons from Bhutan. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 93: 514.
Bache, Ian. 2013. Measuring Quality of Life for Public Policy: An Idea Whose Time has Come? Agenda-setting Dynamics in the European Union. Journal of European Public Policy 20, 1: 21–38.

Meeting 6: Friday May 24, 2019: 14h15-17h00, Some things that have not happened (yet?): Lookism, healthism, a human right to “bodily integrity”; limiting the agenda to that which is relatively benign

Bachrach, Peter and Morton Baratz. 1962. The Two Faces of Power. American Political Science Review 56: 947–52.
*Warhurst, Chris, Diane van den Broek, Richard Hall, and Dennis Nickson. 2012. Great Expectations: Gender, Looks and Lookism at Work. International Journal of Work Organisation and Emotion 5, 1:72–90.
Warhurst, Chris, Diane van den Broek, Richard Hall, and Dennis Nickson. 2009. Lookism: The New Frontier of Employment Discrimination? Journal of Industrial Relations 51, 1: 131–136.
*Roberts, Jessica L., and Elizabeth Weeks. 2018. Healthism: Health-Status Discrimination and the Law. New York: Cambridge University Press. Ch. 1-2, pp. 1-53.
Carpenter, Charli. 2014. “Lost” Causes: Agenda Vetting in Global Issue Networks and the Shaping of Human Security. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, Ch. 6, “His Body, His Choice”, pp. 122–147.


Last updated May 1, 2019