By Sebastiaan Princen (auth.)
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Additional resources for Agenda-Setting in the European Union
This follows from the strategic considerations of the actors challenging the status quo: they want to change something, so they will turn to the venue which can help them to achieve that goal. In many cases, binding EU legislation (either in the form of directives or regulations) is the greatest prize to be won at EU level, because it overrides member state law. However, in other cases the EU may be equally useful as a venue for raising the salience of issues, developing alternative approaches, funding studies and building networks of support for policy change.
In day-to-day parlance, issues are identified often in terms of topics, such as ‘crime’, ‘unemployment’ or ‘the greenhouse effect’. However, politically speaking, these topics only become issues when political actors have different ideas about what should be done about them. Therefore, issue definition involves the identification of dimensions on which there is conflict between political actors, thus agendasetting may concern both the identification of conflicts over new topics, and the creation of new conflicts over old topics.
As a result, they will focus on one side of the issue at the expense of others, and major shifts in issue perception often concern shifts from one dimension to another. Hence, agenda-setting is about giving information that highlights the particular side (or as Jones and Baumgartner call it, ‘attribute’) of the issue that will make people look favourably upon it. Whether a reframing strategy is successful depends, first, on whether the link between ‘problem’ and ‘solution’ can be made convincingly, and second, on political ‘events’ that may shift the balance of power in the political system.
Agenda-Setting in the European Union by Sebastiaan Princen (auth.)