Framing mechanisms: the interpretive policy entrepreneur’s toolbox

Ewert Aukes* (Corresponding Author), Kristiaan R.D. Lulofs, Johannes T.A. Bressers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
1083 Downloads (Pure)


Policy entrepreneurs were, originally, neither conceived to be active meaning-makers nor did they interact with other actors. They invested other resources such as time, energy, reputation and money in coupling problems, solutions and politics. Adding the interpretive dimension of interactional framing mechanisms turns them into interpretive policy entrepreneurs. This perspective improves our understanding of policy cases in which initial frame conflicts are resolved by extensive meaning-making work by one specific actor. We illustrate this interpretive policy entrepreneur concept with the innovative Sand Motor mega-sand nourishment scheme case, an artificial peninsula of 21 million m3 at the South Holland coast. Designed to achieve multiple aims, this coastal management scheme should serve coastal protection, nature development as well as recreational purposes. In the risk-averse, complex policy domain of Dutch coastal management, the provincial government of South Holland turned out to be an adept meaning-maker by linking other actors’ problem definitions to their proposed solution. Fourteen in-depth, semi-structured interviews put the provincial government at the heart of several framing interactions that led to frame convergence and ultimately the resolution of the initial frame conflict. Our interpretive analysis of framing interactions concludes that interactional framing mechanisms can reveal interpretive policy entrepreneurs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-427
Number of pages22
JournalCritical policy studies
Issue number4
Early online date11 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Coastal management
  • Interactional framing mechanisms
  • Interpretive policy entrepreneur
  • Policy entrepreneurship
  • The Netherlands
  • Case studies


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