Undergraduate Course: Politics and Public Policy (PLIT10150)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The course will consider competing understandings of policy making, including formulation through to implementation and evaluation. The class will provide a framework for a discussion of the mechanisms and processes of government, presented in a way that facilitates comparative analysis. It will equip students with their theoretical and conceptual debates but also applied knowledge of policy-making enabling enable students to build a critical understanding of how policies are made. The policy area focus will vary taking account of contemporary developments but include 'wicked' issues and issues that cut across formal organizational lines. Finally, the course will also bring together academic expertise and practical experience, with invited policy practitioners presenting case studies on issues of policy or administrative concern.
The class will cover the policy process from agenda setting to implementation and evaluation. The substantive policies considered will vary, determined by the contemporary issues and seminar topic. How issues are framed and how this affects policy development will be considered. Other areas of public policy analysis that will be discussed include:
- debates on the roles of ideas, institutions and interests in policy making;
- how policies are/have been delivered (centrally or locally, by the state itself or agencies of the state, the private provision of public goods etc);
- the extent to which and impediments preventing policies being easily (and radically) changed will be considered;
- major policy challenges including prevention, collaboration, and anticipatory policies will be analysed with particular reference to 'wicked problems' and competing forms of leadership in public policy making.
The first part of the session will involve all students discussing readings and issues raised in readings in preparation for that week's seminar. This has three main purposes:
- To allow the course organizer to know what has and has not been read by individual students and steer discussion accordingly;
- To ensure that all students make a contribution in class (evidence shows that speaking early in a meeting or class makes it more likely that further contributions are offered)
- To share knowledge and create a participatory culture in each session.
There will be three parts to each week's class:
- Each student will feed back on literature assigned for that week in short presentations
- Student-led presentations. Students will be allocated a topic and expected to coordinate with others presenting that week. These presentations should be for between 10-15 minutes.
- Presentation/discussion led by course organizer on the week's topic
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting students should have at least 4 Politics/International Relations courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses. As numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Individual Policy Brief 50%«br /»
Group Project 40%«br /»
Participation 10%«br /»
||Individual and Group projects will be returned within 15 working days. All students will additionally receive individual feedback on presentations as part of participation in class.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- understand and critically evaluate competing approaches and theories of the policy process.
- apply these to substantive policy issues.
- evaluate the challenges faced by and different responses by policy makers.
- locate relevant information on policy-making, analyse and present these in a professional fashion.
- exercise informed independent thought and critical judgment, as well as demonstrate collaborative and team-working skills.
|John, Peter (2012), Analysing Public Policy, Routledge, 2nd ed., Continuum 1998|
Lodge, L., E. Page and S. Balla (eds) (2015/16), The Oxford Handbook of Classics in Public Policy and Administration, Oxford, Oxford University Press
Moran, Michael, Martin Rein and Robert E. Goodin (eds) (2008), Oxford Handbook of Public Policy, Oxford University Press
Wheelan, Charles (2011), Introduction to public policy, New York, W.W. Norton
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Develop of conceptual thinking
Develop presentational skills
Ability to relate theory to practice
Critical engagement with institutions
Skills in group work
Develop independent learning.
|Course organiser||Prof James Mitchell
|Course secretary||Mr Daniel Jackson
Tel: (0131 6)50 8253