Nathalie Schiffino

Université catholique de Louvain
ISPOLE (political science)

Chaussée de Binche, 151
Mons, Wallonia
7000 |  Visit Personal Website

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(Risk and morality) policies are investigated with respect to the policy design: i.e. the policy-makers, the goals they strive for, the instruments they apply, the social groups they target, and so forth. Dimensions of the policy process (such as agenda-setting or framing) provide a framework for analysis. Societal risk and morality issues impact our way of living, and they trigger vivid debates. The policy-making, the regulation by administrative agencies, the way such public organizations work, and especially regarding the street-level bureaucrats, are challenged. More generally, (representative) democracy is at stake to handle potential crises. Nowadays, risk and morality policies partly rely on democratic innovations. This intrigues the legitimacy and the efficacy of democratic representation. It also influences the interactions between actors within public institutions. What influences democratic decision-making? How do interest groups, advisory bodies, or specific political parties influence policy-making? Does a populist discourse change a policy process? Is there a veil of ignorance hanging before policy-makers’ eyes? How do public organizations operate in front of challenging innovations?

FOBÉ Ellen, BIARD Benjamin, SCHIFFINO Nathalie, BRANS Marleen (2017) Policy advisory bodies in Belgium, in BRANS Marleen, David AUBIN, Policy-analysis in Belgium, Bristol : Policy Press, pp. 151-170.
Abstract: This chapter discusses the advisory bodies that have been established, supported and regulated by Belgian governments at both the national and the subnational levels of policy. The aim is to answer three questions in particular on the context and characteristics of policy advice in Belgium in general and policy advisory bodies in particular. The first question pertains to how and why these advisory bodies are established by policy-makers. Second, we investigate what the role is of different types of expertise in these advisory bodies. Thirdly, their influence on policy-making in Belgium is discussed. By reflecting upon these questions, we will show that the Belgian institutionalised advisory system struggles to meet four important challenges in policy-making, that is managing a growing advice competition, blending expert advice with representative opinion, securing societal support for policy interventions from groups other than traditional representative organisations, and ensuring political primacy in the policy process.
VAN DAMME Jan, JACQUET Vincent, SCHIFFINO Nathalie, REUCHAMPS Min (2017) Public consultation and participation in Belgium: directly engaging citizens beyond the ballot box? , in BRANS Marleen, David AUBIN, Policy-analysis in Belgium, Bristol : Policy Press, pp. 215-234.
Abstract: This chapter analyzes the variety of public consultation and participation arrangements in Belgium at different levels of government in order to clarify the public’s role in policy making and analysis beyond the ballot box. To this end, we use a framework of analysis in three dimensions: Who participates? How do they participate? Why do they participate?
Schiffino, Nathalie, et al. 2015. Organizing after crisis. The challenge of learning. Brussels: Peter Lang, Public Action Series
Abstract: How do actors organize after crisis? Do they «simply» return to normal? The post-crisis phase is anything but a linear process. Actors and their practices may be transformed by learning from crises and by implementing the lessons. In this volume, 19 contributors from 7 countries analyse how learning happens after crisis in a dynamic political environment where framings, strategies, discourses, interests and resources interact. Exploring various policy sectors, they ask whether and in what ways organizations in charge of crisis management perform well. Where political responsibility is located? What changes do lessons trigger at political, organizational and individual levels? The book answers these questions by addressing issues like blame and responsibility but also the influence of communication, social dynamics and the institutional environment.
Jacob, S., Schiffino, N. 2015. Risk policies in the United States: Definition and Characteristics based on a Scoping Review of the Literature. Risk Analysis 35 (5): 849-858.
Abstract: The concept of “risk policy” is used with increasing frequency by decisionmakers, researchers, and the media. However, there is no precise, generally accepted definition of what is covered by policies in this area. Based on a scoping review of the literature published in key journals in the sector, we have identified the main characteristics of public risk policies drawn up and implemented in the United States. The sample comprised 21 articles published in six multidisciplinary journals between 2000 and 2010.
DOI: 10.1111/risa.12308
RAONE Julien, SCHIFFINO Nathalie (2015) Hybridity at the heart of contemporary risk governance : the example of the safety of the food chain in Belgium, International Review of Administrative Sciences, vol. 81, n°2
Abstract: What are the changes and challenges facing the public regulator in a context of risk governance? Through the analytical prism developed by Jacques Chevallier, this paper proposes to examine the changes in the role of the public regulator by focusing on the style of public policy and governance tools. In the light of the hybridity observed in the study of the system regulating the safety of the food chain in Belgium, the contribution focuses on a double source of instability reflecting the tensions at the heart of the public values structuring the regulation system. A deconstruction of this hybridity reveals the negotiated and conflicting nature of the values underlying the action of the public regulator and its evaluation.
Schiffino, Nathalie, and Ramjoué Célina, Frédéric Varone. 2009. "Biomedical Policies in Belgium and Italy: From Regulatory Reluctance To Policy Changes". West European Politics 32 (3): 559-585.
Abstract: Belgium and Italy stand out within Western Europe as countries that have shown pronounced reluctance to regulate assisted reproductive technologies (ART) and embryo research in the 1980s and 1990s, while the new millennium brought about major public policy ?punctuation?. Belgium has changed from a strategy of non-decision to a permissive regulation on embryos and ART practices. Italy has moved from a lack of ART regulation to a relatively restrictive framework. The purpose of our contribution is twofold. First, it aims at explaining Belgium and Italy's reluctance to regulate ART until roughly 2000. We rely on three explanatory factors: the deeply divided character of societies, the weight and the divisions of political parties, and the autonomy of physicians. Second, referring in part to the punctuated equilibrium model of Baumgartner and Jones, we explain the policy change in both Belgium and Italy in the first decade of 21st century.
Schiffino, Nathalie, and Steve Jacob. 2011. "Risk, Democracy and Schizophrenia: The Changing Roles of Citizens in Risk Policy-Making. Putting GMO Policy to the Test". Journal of Risk Research14 (9-10).
Abstract: For more than two decades, participatory mechanisms have often been invoked as quasi-policy instruments to counterbalance a deficit of legitimacy surrounding political representation. Scientific literature has widely investigated this process. Empirical studies have documented it. However, a blind spot remains. How does this process influence the role of citizens when they are called to sanction political decisions concerning risks, decisions to which they have been at least partly associated? This paper innovatively combines theories of democracy and sequential policy analysis to investigate the articulation of participation and representation when risk issues are regulated. This paper?s theoretical reflection is documented through the example of GMO policy in Europe and, more specifically, in Belgium.

Substantive Focus:

Theoretical Focus:
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation SECONDARY
Policy Analysis and Evaluation PRIMARY