This paper deals with the different roles that scientific knowledge can play in shaping and redefining policy images, focusing on two quite distinct policy fields in The Netherlands: immigrant policy and assisted reproductive technology policy. Interactions between policy-makers and scientific experts are linked to processes of negative and positive feedback in which a policy monopoly is maintained or attacked. We show how science and the structural arrangements through which it is produced and disseminated can truly be a ‘venue’ for depoliticization or for fuelling emerging policy disputes. The two cases of immigrant integration and reproductive medicine show variation in topic, tone and tempo, but we also consider points of similarity that may stem from broader features of the system. We conclude with a discussion of institutional conditions for the nexus of science and politics, and point a way for further investigating this subject in cross-national comparative research.
- Assisted reproductive technologies
- Immigrant integration
- Policy change
- Punctuated equilibrium