Lecture of prof. Robert Hoppe
Last week, the students from the Public Policy Department had the amazing opportunity to attend a public lecture by one of the great minds and contributors to the Public Policy field – Emeritus Professor of Policy and Knowledge – Doctor Robert Hoppe.
The main topic of discussion was related to the present status of policy research, while at the same time on the ideas presented in his most recent article on the 100th anniversary of Charles E. Lindblom – notable scholar of political science and economics and early developer of incrementalism – “Lindblom on Limits to Policy Change: The Tragic Dilemma Between Understanding and Shaping the World”.Additionally, he managed to present and touched upon central policy concepts from his recent publication of the “Handbook on Policy, Process and Governing”, which he wrote together with H. K. Colebatch. On the status of policy research, we had an interesting discussion linked to Prof. Hoppe’s title as Professor of Policy and Knowledge. The latter attribute is indeed a valuable addition to the nature of work that intellectuals conduct in the field of public policy, and Prof. Hoppe in particular, notable the never-ending process of generating knowledge – both from a vantage point of new concepts or reconstruction of old ones. One of such concepts, widely discussed during the open lecture, was policy incrementalism, which in essence refers to achieving policy change by degrees.
First-year student Priyanka Kumar (from India) mentioned that Prof.’s insights on the application of incrementalism were really valuable as they manage to widen the scope of students’ theoretical understanding of policy concepts and policy making. We also discussed innovations in the policy field, such as the new Dutch mobile application that was made to help voters decide on whom they should vote for by matching the voter’s and the candidate’s views and ideology. This idea, although innovative and potentially a useful tool to enhance voter turnout, generated rich discussions within our group of students, and also our professors. One of the students, Dragalina Vranceanu, accentuated that such an initiative might provide mixed results, in the sense of matching voters’ views with stated ideologies rather than the actual ones. We further passionately discussed the issue of separation of powers and how the European Union could benefit from a heuristic approach, when analyzing whether it is the legislative or judiciary branch of the EU (or their equivalents in the EU system) that should decide on members’ compliance with EU principles, since the ultimate decision should be both legal and political. Although not everyone agreed to this interpretation, the discussion developed between Prof. Hoppe and Prof. Belyaeva was indeed of high academic worth and in the spirit of producing knowledge through deliberations and debate. It was in this context that one of our first-year students Felipe Correa-Fabry mentioned how he is already looking forward to meeting Prof. Robert Hoppe for another fruitful discussion, especially if we have the possibility to assist yet an additional insightful dialogue between distinguished professors. Overall, the lecture was a success in the eyes of the students and was widely attended by students from different programmes within our department and from both years of study. We are looking forward to a new visit.
Report by Dragalina Vranceanu and Joseph Cripps