Yesterday, Professor Nils Bandelow, Chair of Comparative Politics and Public Policy at the University of Braunschweig, made a trip to Kaiserslautern to talk about the state of the art of one of the most prominent theoretical approaches in policy research, the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF). In his guest lecture, as part of the lecture on comparative policy research by Georg Wenzelburger, Nils Bandelow shared his expertise on the framework and gave insights about the tenets of the ACF as well as its development over the years.
Nils Bandelow started off with a presentation of proponents of the ACF who have played a major role in developing the framework. He went on to point to differences between the American and the German reading of the framework, critically reflecting on the core elements of the ACF and their usefulness. In doing so, he also discussed why major questions that arise when working with the framework – who are the actors; are there stable goals/preferences; who comes together in coalitions and which impact do they have? – are not so easily answered.
Nils Bandelow concluded his talk with a plea to extend and modify the framework and to take into account social identity and group theory, to use a more precise concept of actors, to draw on some elements of rational choice theory, and to explicitly limit the scope of what a theory aims to explain and make sense of. In his outlook, he sketched out how these issues can be addressed with the theoretical framework that he has developed together with his team in recent years, the Programmatic Action Framework.