(Mis-)matching framing foci: Understanding policy consensus among coastal management frames

Ewert J. Aukes*, Kris R.D. Lulofs, Hans T.A. Bressers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The push and pull between innovation and conservatism is a normal situation in Dutch coastal governance. In some cases this leads to conflicts over which policy solution to choose. This paper argues that coastal governance processes are shaped by policy frames. They influence what actors consider the policy problem, the appropriate solution, and the way to achieve this solutions. The paper features a Dutch coastal governance project called “Hondsbossche Duinen”, in which the mismatching of heterogeneous policy framing foci almost led to breakdown of the process. After a phase leading to controversy and shifts in project management, the project eventually became realised successfully. This near-breakdown and eventual success is studied from the perspective of framing foci: policy substance, policy process, and actors’ identities and relationships. In-depth interviews with policy actors allow for a nuanced analysis of those framing foci. We show that dynamics of emphasising and ignoring similarities and dissimilarities between actors’ framing foci explain the developments in the case. Emphasising dissimilarities and ignoring similarities produced controversy in the first phase of the case. In the end, emphasising similarities and the emergence of a consensus framing focus led to policy consensus.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalOcean and Coastal Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Jun 2020


  • coastal governance innovation
  • policy controversy
  • frame conflict
  • case study
  • The Netherlands

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