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Policy learning governance : a new perspective on agency across policy learning theories

  • Zaki, Bishoy
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2024
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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The predominant ontological position on agency in policy learning literature has been relatively learner-oriented, thus focusing on policy actors puzzling about policy problems. In other words, it focuses on how actors acquire, translate, and disseminate knowledge and information to address policy problems or ‘puzzles’. However, despite its influence on learning and its outcomes, policy actors’ powering, or agency in shaping learning processes has been scarcely explored or theorised. Drawing on policy learning literature, this article explores and demarcates the concept of ‘policy learning governance’ as a supplementary perspective to the learner-oriented view of agency in policy learning research. Here, learning governance can be understood as the deliberate processes by which policy actors strategise, design, and govern policy learning processes towards achieving technical or political objectives. This article explains how integrating a learning governance perspective into existing conceptual approaches to policy learning can provide a better basis for understanding the interactions between different constitutive elements of policy learning processes and outcomes, such as policy or belief change. In this way, it offers a more robust baseline for explaining learning processes, an advancement that has significant implications for both policy learning theory and practice.

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