Birkland Chp 6 - Agenda Setting Power and Interest Groups

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  1. Agenda
    The list of things being discussed and sometimes acted upon bu and institution, the news, or the public at large.
  2. Agenda Setting
    The process by which problems and alternative solutions gain or lose public and elite attention, to the activities of various actors and groups that cause issues to gain greater attention or prevent them from gaining attention.
  3. Pluralism
    In group theories of politics, the theory, assumption or belief that there are many groups that compete with each other in a reasonably open political system and that policy results from this group competition.
  4. Elite Theory
    In studies of groups and politics, the theory or belief that policy making is dominated by the best educated, wealthiest, and most powerful elites. This position is most closely associated with sociologist C. Wright Mills. Contrast with pluralism.
  5. Condition
    A fact or situation that may be unpleasant but about which nothing can be done. For example, the weather can be thought of as a condition. Compare with a problem.
  6. Enactment
    The act of putting a decision, such as legislation or regulation, into effect. Statue laws are generally enacted in the United States when the president or a state governor signs a bill presented by the legislature or when a legislature or Congress overrides the governor's or president's veto.
  7. Systemic Agenda
    Any issue, problem or idea that could possibly be considered by participants in the policy process, provided that the idea does not fall outside well-established social, political, ideological, and legal norms. That boundary of legitimate jurisdiction can move in and out to accommodate more or fewer ideas over time.
  8. Agenda Universe
    The list of all the possible ideas that could ever be advanced in any society. Pick anything basically. Compare to the systemic agenda.
  9. Institutional Agenda
    The list of issues that is being currently considered by a governmental institution, such as an agency, legislature, or court. Only a limited number of issues are likely to reach the institutional agenda.
  10. Decision Agenda
    The agenda that contains items that are about to acted upon by a governmental body, such as bills, court cases or regulations. There is substantial competition for what will inevitably be limited agenda space. Even when a problem is on the agenda, there may be considerable controversy and competition over how to define the problem, causes, and the policies that will solve it.
  11. Expand Scope of Conflict
    • By expanding the scope of the conflict, issues are more likely to be elevated to agenda status if the scope of conflict is broadened. Groups can accomplish this in two ways:
    • 1. Go public with symbols and images to induce greater media and public sympathy for their cause.
    • 2. Losers in the first stage of a political conflict can appeal to a higher or different decision-making level.
  12. Symbol
    Something that stands for something else, usually for a broader concept. For example, the flag often means patriotism; a low or high unemployment rates symbolizes a strong or weak economy.
  13. Policy monopoly
    Term to describe a fairly concentrated closed system of the most important actors in a domain, who dominate or monopolize policy making; this is similar to the idea of the iron triangle.
  14. Windows of Opportunity
    • Point in time at which policy change becomes more likely as the various "streams" are joined-political, problem, or policy stream. (Kingdon's stream theory)
    • Exs: electoral change, perception of problem change
  15. Indicator
    Evidence of a problem, often based on statistics; for example, a decline in the GDP or an increase in the unemployment rate are indicators of economic problems. People can and do argue about what the indicator means.
  16. Focusing event
    • A sudden event that can generate attention to public problems or issues, particularly issues and problems that are actually or potentially harmful.
    • Important for groups that find it difficult to get their issues on the agenda.
  17. Advocacy Coalition
    Coalition of groups that come together based on a shared set of belief about a particular issue or problem. Changes in indicators or focusing events may initiate coalitions to form.
  18. Venue Shopping
    • Efforts groups undertake to gain a hearing for their ideas and grievances against existing policy.
    • The venue is the level of government or institution in which the group is likely to gain the most favorable hearing - legislative, executive, judicial/federal, state, local.
  19. NIMBY
    Not in my backyard - local response to the location of unpopular public or private developments. Professionally: Locally undesirable land use
  20. Internal Mobilization
    When political elites try to mobilize publics to generate mass support for an issue to support elite efforts to move the issue further up the agenda. Sending tea bags to representatives at the start of the Tea Party movement.
  21. Public goods
    Goods that once provided for one user are provided for everyone such as national defense or police services; economists say that public goods are indivisible and non-exclusive, because they cannot be divided into parts for individuals to consume and because one person's use of the good does not deny use to others.
  22. Social construction
    The process by which issues and problems are defined in society. The group that can create and promote the most effective depiction of an issue has an advantage in the battle over what will be done about the problem.
  23. Causal stories
    A narrative depiction of the causes of a public problem; such stories often contain normative statements about both the problem itself and why a particular solution will resolve the things that are said to have caused the problem.
  24. Mechanical Causes
    • Type of causal story. Actions unguided. Consequences intended.
    • Exs: Intervening agents. Brainwashing people. Machines that perform as designed but cause harm.
  25. Accidental Causes
    • Type of causal story. Actions unguided. Consequences unintended.
    • Exs: nature, weather, earthquakes, machines run amok.
  26. Intentional Causes
    • Type of causal story. Actions purposeful. Consequences intended.
    • Exs: Oppression, conspiracies that work, programs that work as intended but cause harm.
  27. Inadvertent Causes
    • Type of causal story. Actions purposeful. Consequences unintended.
    • Exs: Intervening conditions, unforeseen side effects, avoidable ignorance, carelessness, omission.
  28. Aggregate Data
    Data based on the adding up or aggregation of smaller data points. For example data on the average family income in the census is based on smaller data elements gathered and then aggregated for analysis.
  29. Outlier
    A data point that falls far outside the main cluster of data that it significantly impacts the mean value of the data
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Birkland Chp 6 - Agenda Setting Power and Interest Groups
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