Conference proceedings article

Tidal wave: critical junctures, political agency and the shift of crisis management policy in Sweden, 2004-2009


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Author list: Petridou, Evangelia;Sparf, Jörgen

Publication year: 2015


It is well documented in the literature that exogenous shocks, such as large scale disasters, lead to dynamic change in policies in part because they expose institutional shortfalls and the inability of old policies to handle new problems. However, attributing a specific policy change to a particular exogenous shock is, we believe, not sufficient to explain the causes and process of policy change. Any analysis of policy change must also take into account the political context and the role of agency. In this paper we examine exceptional agency and the agentic role of individual actors in the shift of crisis management policy in Sweden from 2004 to 2009. We specifically interrogate the role of policy entrepreneurs and the strategies they employed in contributing to the policy change at the national level expressed in the establishment of the secretariat for Crisis Management and the Swedish Agency for Civil Contingencies. Drawing from policy science literature and through a series of elite interviews and document analyses, we identify key political actors and strategic acts resulting in policy change articulated mainly through institutional change.


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