Changing closed agricultural policy communities

C.J.A.M. Termeer, R.A. Werkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Agricultural policy networks have served as classic examples of closed policy communities facing pressure to open up. However, attempts to change them are slowly moving forward. The dialogues on Common Agricultural Policy reforms in which the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture is engaged with a range of interested parties mark a new departure. This article analyses these debates in order to understand why opening up closed agricultural communities is so difficult. Whereas most current explanations of changing policy communities rely on exogenous factors, this article focuses on the beliefs and practices of the actors involved. For this purpose it uses configuration theory, a sense-making approach to organizational change. The results indicate that the policy community is changing, but that the process of policymaking by ‘insiders’ has not yet been completely rooted out. ‘Old hands’ have sustained patterns of inclusion and exclusion that have automatically excluded new participants and enabled the usual actors to dominate the dialogue. It is precisely these patterns that have also hindered attempts to introduce alternative designs for the policymaking process. Keywords closed policy community; configuration theory; sense-making; change; agricultural policy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-298
JournalCritical Policy Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Changing closed agricultural policy communities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this