Public participation as a factor in the development of policy : a case study pf the KwaZulu-Natal Waste Management Policy process, 1996- 2001.
Bulman, Roderick Royce Vercoe.
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This study reviews some of the trends in the theory and practice of public participation processes as an element of policy development. It attempts to locate public participation within a theoretical framework for policy development based on the work of Kingdon (Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies, 2nd ed. 1995) on policy streams, and that of Roe (Narrative Policy Analysis. 1994) on the use of discourse analysis. It uses the KwaZulu-Natal Waste Management Policy process as a case study and shows that it is possible to combine these two theories to come to a better understanding of the way in which policy is arrived at. The policy streams proposed by Kingdon are identified in the case study and the 'crisis', which moved the issue of waste management onto the decision agenda, is described. Two dominant narratives that emerge from a series of interviews are discerned, together with two counter narratives. By comparing and contrasting these a metanarrative is developed that meets Roe's criteria for telling a better story and so becomes the basis for the final policy. Public participation is shown as being a useful way of ensuring that alternative 'stories' are included in the shaping of policy and so allowing a metanarrative to emerge. Some conclusions about the implications of the analysis for future processes are drawn.