Article

Taking the Power of Ideas Seriously - The Case of the United Kingdom's 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

Citation

Kettell S & Cairney P (2010) Taking the Power of Ideas Seriously - The Case of the United Kingdom's 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Policy Studies, 31 (3), pp. 301-317. https://doi.org/10.1080/01442871003615943

Abstract
To ‘take ideas seriously' is to recognise the symbiotic relationship between power and the role of ideas, rather than explain policy primarily in terms of influence and material interest. Yet, this statement alone does not take us very far. The definition and ‘independent effect' of ideas is open to question, while explanations based on power may compete with, as well as supplement, explanations based on ideas. This article addresses these issues in two ways. First, it explores the role of ideas in the public policy literature. Second, it examines the potency of ideas through an analysis of the UK government's 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Although widely seen as a battle of ideas competing to be translated into policy action, the Bill's progression cannot be sufficiently explained with reference to ideas or political power alone. Rather, both ideas and power relations need to be taken into account when considering the causes of policy change.

Keywords
ideas; policy analysis; power; Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill

Journal
Policy Studies: Volume 31, Issue 3

StatusPublished
Publication date31/05/2010
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/15963
PublisherTaylor and Francis (Routledge)
ISSN0144-2872