Comparing Policy-Making Boundaries: The Blurring of State and Civil Society Actors in Public Policy

Panel Code

Working together, the papers on this panel will build a comparative model of civil society influence on public policies, locally, nationally and transnationally. The panel as a whole will contribute both to new empirical knowledge and theoretical development.
The empirical basis of this model-building will come from the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. Moreover, it will be based on the study of multiple countries in several continents which allows to test a full range of variables. Especially, sophisticated large scale surveys of thousands of civil society groups will be utilized to make international comparisons. Also, interviews with public decision-makers will contribute to the understanding of their interactions with civil society. Through clever survey design and secondary analysis, the panel will be able to provide a powerful comparative perspective on the structures -especially the state- that these actors engage with through the policy process.
More precisely, the ambition of the panel is to contribute to the understanding of the interactions among state public policy (macro-level) and individual strategies (micro-level) or organized interests (meso-level). Its goal is to formulate new theories on how micro and meso-level agency design macro-level strategies, and reciprocally. State structures (macro-level) inevitably leave room for manoeuvre. How micro and meso-level agency seize these margins and thus redesign borders and macro-level strategies is a core question of this panel. How state strategies are able to manage cross-cultural relationships and transborder relationships is the other face of the question. The panel will be able to identify specific configurations, with reference to the RC30 focus areas it will test different variables (isolated vs. organized individuals, high vs. low politics, geographical proximity vs. distance, cultural proximity vs. distance, etc.) to identify types of interactions between these levels of human behavior and provide novel contribution to knowledge of the policy processes and outcomes in an environment where the boundaries between States and between State and civil society actors become increasingly blurred.