Presented by J. B. Nangpuhan II (MPA Student) for the class (Public Policy) of Dr. J. K. Seo at Chonnam National University, South Korea. 2011
I. AGENDA SETTING
What is agenda? Agenda is a list of items to be discussed at a formal meeting. Agenda setting, in a brief but broad description, is about the recognition of a problem on the part of the government. Before a policy choice can be made, a problem in society must have been accepted as a part of the agenda for the policymaking system – that is, as one member of the set of problems deemed amenable to public action and worthy of the attention of policymakers. Thus, agenda setting is crucial in policymaking.
As with all the portions of the policymaking process, agenda setting is an intensely political activity because it involves bringing into the public consciousness an acceptance of a vague social problem as something government can, and should, attempt to solve. In agenda setting, the policy analysts is less a technician and more a politician, by understanding the policymaking process and seeking to influence that process towards a desired end.
Problems do come on and off the active policy agenda and tend to remain for a long period of time. In the United States, an example of a problem being excluded after a long period of time is the problem of poverty. Poverty was perceived not as a public problem in the US but because of the publication of Michael Harrington’s The Other America and the growing mobilization of poor people brought the problem of poverty to the agenda and indirectly resulted in the launching of a war for its eradication. This is how crucial an important public issue should be put first on the agenda.