Taking the power of ideas seriously

the case of the United Kingdom's 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

Steven Kettell (Corresponding Author), Paul Cairney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

To ‘take ideas seriously’ is to recognise the symbiotic relationship between power and the role of ideas, rather than explain policy primarily in terms of influence and material interest. Yet, this statement alone does not take us very far. The definition and ‘independent effect’ of ideas is open to question, while explanations based on power may compete with, as well as supplement, explanations based on ideas. This article addresses these issues in two ways. First, it explores the role of ideas in the public policy literature. Second, it examines the potency of ideas through an analysis of the UK government’s 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Although widely seen as a battle of ideas competing to be translated into policy action, the Bill’s progression cannot be sufficiently explained with reference to ideas or political power alone. Rather, both ideas and power relations need to be taken into account when considering the causes of policy change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-317
Number of pages17
JournalPolicy Studies
Volume31
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2010

Fingerprint

political power
supplement
public policy
cause
literature

Keywords

  • ideas
  • policy analysis
  • power
  • human fertilisation and embryology bill

Cite this

Taking the power of ideas seriously : the case of the United Kingdom's 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. / Kettell, Steven (Corresponding Author); Cairney, Paul.

In: Policy Studies, Vol. 31, No. 3, 15.04.2010, p. 301-317.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{e60b89025b8b4dd099837f9906b4b017,
title = "Taking the power of ideas seriously: the case of the United Kingdom's 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill",
abstract = "To ‘take ideas seriously’ is to recognise the symbiotic relationship between power and the role of ideas, rather than explain policy primarily in terms of influence and material interest. Yet, this statement alone does not take us very far. The definition and ‘independent effect’ of ideas is open to question, while explanations based on power may compete with, as well as supplement, explanations based on ideas. This article addresses these issues in two ways. First, it explores the role of ideas in the public policy literature. Second, it examines the potency of ideas through an analysis of the UK government’s 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Although widely seen as a battle of ideas competing to be translated into policy action, the Bill’s progression cannot be sufficiently explained with reference to ideas or political power alone. Rather, both ideas and power relations need to be taken into account when considering the causes of policy change.",
keywords = "ideas, policy analysis, power, human fertilisation and embryology bill",
author = "Steven Kettell and Paul Cairney",
year = "2010",
month = "4",
day = "15",
doi = "10.1080/01442871003615943",
language = "English",
volume = "31",
pages = "301--317",
journal = "Policy Studies",
issn = "0144-2872",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Taking the power of ideas seriously

T2 - the case of the United Kingdom's 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

AU - Kettell, Steven

AU - Cairney, Paul

PY - 2010/4/15

Y1 - 2010/4/15

N2 - To ‘take ideas seriously’ is to recognise the symbiotic relationship between power and the role of ideas, rather than explain policy primarily in terms of influence and material interest. Yet, this statement alone does not take us very far. The definition and ‘independent effect’ of ideas is open to question, while explanations based on power may compete with, as well as supplement, explanations based on ideas. This article addresses these issues in two ways. First, it explores the role of ideas in the public policy literature. Second, it examines the potency of ideas through an analysis of the UK government’s 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Although widely seen as a battle of ideas competing to be translated into policy action, the Bill’s progression cannot be sufficiently explained with reference to ideas or political power alone. Rather, both ideas and power relations need to be taken into account when considering the causes of policy change.

AB - To ‘take ideas seriously’ is to recognise the symbiotic relationship between power and the role of ideas, rather than explain policy primarily in terms of influence and material interest. Yet, this statement alone does not take us very far. The definition and ‘independent effect’ of ideas is open to question, while explanations based on power may compete with, as well as supplement, explanations based on ideas. This article addresses these issues in two ways. First, it explores the role of ideas in the public policy literature. Second, it examines the potency of ideas through an analysis of the UK government’s 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Although widely seen as a battle of ideas competing to be translated into policy action, the Bill’s progression cannot be sufficiently explained with reference to ideas or political power alone. Rather, both ideas and power relations need to be taken into account when considering the causes of policy change.

KW - ideas

KW - policy analysis

KW - power

KW - human fertilisation and embryology bill

U2 - 10.1080/01442871003615943

DO - 10.1080/01442871003615943

M3 - Article

VL - 31

SP - 301

EP - 317

JO - Policy Studies

JF - Policy Studies

SN - 0144-2872

IS - 3

ER -