Panel Paper: The Policy Cycle: What Goes Around Comes Around - or Does It?

Saturday, November 8, 2014 : 8:50 AM
Navajo (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Cheryl Leggon, Georgia Institute of Technology
As a mechanism to address a particular issue or problem, policy can be conceptualized as the result of a temporal process which can be either linear or circular. Conceptualizing policy as the end result of a unidirectional linear process imbues it with a sense of finality that implies that it is highly unlikely that an issue already addressed by policy will re-appear on the public agenda. By contrast, representing the process as circular both reflects and reinforces the view that policy results from the dynamic confluence of social, economic, political, and cultural factors—at a particular point in time.  Consequently changes in one of more of these factors could necessitate re-examining the policy and/or the issues it addresses. Using the current and recurring issue of legalizing the use of marijuana as a case study, this paper examines the dynamics of issues re-appearing on the policy agenda across several years.