By Katherine Smith (auth.)
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Extra info for Beyond Evidence-Based Policy in Public Health: The Interplay of Ideas
However, they provide very little scope for explaining how or why signiﬁcant shifts in policy might occur, or why individuals’ preferences might signiﬁcantly change. As such, the potential role of research (or evidence) on policy is limited to supporting incremental or low-level change. Theories focusing on occasional, dramatic policy shifts and the role of ideas The third organisational category employed in this section focuses on theories which suggest that policy develops through a series of ‘punctured equilibriums’ (Baumgartner and Jones 1993) or ‘policy paradigms’ (Hall 1990, 1993).
There are also an increasing number of initiatives intended to improve the use of evidence within policymaking in lowand middle-income countries, some of which are led by international bodies. For example, in 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the Evidence-Informed Policy Network (EVIPNet) in Africa, which builds on an earlier regional initiative in East Africa, to develop ‘knowledge-translation platforms’ in seven sub-Saharan African countries (Lavis and Panisset 2010). Indeed a study assessing the approach of health research–funding agencies to knowledge translation in lowerand middle-income countries (Brazil, Colombia, India, the Philippines, South Africa and Thailand) found 18 out of the 23 funders assessed had a commitment to knowledge translation in their mandate (Cordero et al.
For the idea that the networks underlying particular policy systems and ways of thinking might suddenly break down (as Law 1992 describes) implies that the potential for major change is ever present. Put brieﬂy, ANT and other theories relating to the sociology of knowledge suggest that both policymaking and research are extremely complex processes, involving a diverse number of actors. Exploring the relationship between research and policy from the perspective of ANT focuses attention well beyond moments and processes of ‘transfer’ between ‘research’ and ‘policy’ and calls for some exploration as to why particular ideas are constructed and promoted, as well as to how they come to be translated via different actors.