The Roles of Experts and Expert-Based Information in the Advocacy Coalition Framework: Conceptual and Empirical Considerations Based on the Acid Mine Drainage Case Study in Gauteng, South Africa

Nikki Funke, Dave Huitema, Arthur Petersen, Shanna Nienaber

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF) remains one of the leading conceptual models in the policy sciences because it continues to be revised and updated as required. A focus area of the ACF that requires further theorization is the roles of experts and expert-based information in influencing policy problem contexts. Our article takes a necessary step in this direction by (1) evaluating the usefulness of Weible’s expectations regarding the uses of expert-based information in different types of policy subsystems and factors that contribute to shifts from one subsystem to another; and (2) making critical observations that result from this evaluation in the context of the controversial acid mine drainage policy case study in South Africa. The findings of our case study analysis indicate that Weible’s framework performed reasonably well but also revealed opportunities for further improvement. We therefore suggest adding awareness raising as a use of expert-based information, developing a typology of different types of experts who participate in policy subsystems, and including a focus on the use of expert-based information in policy subsystem shifts. We also reflect upon the relevance and importance of continuing to expand ACF applications to countries outside of North America and Western Europe.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolicy Studies Journal
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • advocacy coalition framework
  • experts
  • expert-based information
  • acid mine drainage
  • South Africa

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