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Chapter 9, by Sebastian Harnisch, discusses the policy learning approach. Learning is a change of beliefs or a development of new beliefs, skills, or procedures as a result of the observation and interpretation of experience. Policy learning has been long recognized as a central mechanism of change in public policy and it has been employed in various research approaches, such as advocacy coalition, theories of institutional change, policy diffusion, and transfer or epistemic communities. Thus far, however, its broad application has not resulted in any (substantial) additional analytical purchase because respective sub-disciplines have not communicated with and built upon each other. The chapter offers a systematic review of the extant public policy literature and discusses the competitive application of several learning approaches to the case of Soviet Union foreign policy learning under Gorbachev. In lieu of a result, it identifies three areas of common interest to Public Policy and FPA, i.e., the historicity and cross-fertilization of domestic and foreign policy experience, the temporal pattern of specific learning episodes and the variant patterns of sociality, including international institutions as teachers/facilitators of learning, for a future dialogue.
This edited volume examines how and under which conditions foreign policy analysis can be enriched by “domestic realm” public policy approaches, concepts, and theories. Public policy scholars dealing with the analysis of domestic policy fields, such as social and economic policy, interior affairs, or environmental policy, use a broad array of heuristics, concepts, and theories, including, for example, multiple streams, advocacy coalition or punctuated equilibrium approaches. However, the possible contribution of such approaches to the analysis of foreign policy has yet to be fully explored. With this purpose in mind, this edited volume devotes a chapter each on a selection of arguably the most important domestic public policy approaches and examines their transferability and adaptability to foreign policy analysis. Thereby the book points out how bridging the intra-disciplinary divide between the analysis of public policy and foreign policy can enrich foreign policy studies and shows how exactly foreign policy analysis can benefit from broadening its instruments for analysis. The edited volume also discusses under what conditions such a transfer is less promising due to the “sui generis” character of foreign policy.
The introductory chapter outlines the rationale behind the edited volume, defines core concepts, introduces the analytical template along which the individual chapters are structured, and provides brief summaries of the individual chapters. Its point of departure is that foreign policy has in many ways become more similar to (and intertwined with) “ordinary” public policies. This is true for the actors involved in the policy-making process as well as for the scope of domestic political contestation around policy-making. Nonetheless, a divide still persists regarding the analysis of policy-making processes and substantive policies in foreign affairs on the one hand and virtually all other public policies on the other hand. Against this background, this chapter argues that FPA has much to benefit from more systematically taking on board scholarship in Public Policy. This allows to broaden the conceptual toolbox for the analysis of state policies toward external events and topics, and to capture the real-world shifts and developments in the domestic and international environment of foreign policy.