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Bringing Policy Communities back in

‘Bringing Policy Communities back in: The case of fire service cover’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, forthcoming 2005.



It is argued that the concept of a policy community has an enduring value in the analysis of public policy, especially if an emphasis is placed on the way in which ideas are excluded from debates. Historical analysis based on the National Archives using a political science conceptual framework can offer fresh perspectives. The concept is developed through a specification of the conditions that encourage policy community formation and survival. Policy inertia led to a policy that produced a higher rate of deaths from fire in the UK than in other developed countries, especially among the socially excluded. The policy community concept can be of value in the policy analysis tool-kit, especially if policy frames that have become embedded to the exclusion of alternatives are identified.

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