Agenda setting and Issue Definition


Understanding why people, media and decision-makers pay attention to one issue and not another. 

Any public policy supposes a problem. However, sociologists and political scientists have shown that public problems are not immediately obvious. No phenomenon is a public problem in itself, public problems are socially constructed : phenomena become public problems when they have been presented – properly – as such. Moreover, the definition of a public problem does not inevitably leads to a policy. In a word, there is no mechanical linkage between problems and policies. The process is not completely predictable, but neither is it random. Logics can be identified. Basically, this course (a lecture) is concerned with how problems are formed and framed, and how they become – or do not become – items on the agenda. After having introduced the notion of agenda setting, the course develops the so-called “social problem” approach, then it exposes leading concepts to explain the character of the agenda in modern times.

Form of assessment

The number of ECTS credits and the assessment methods are likely to be different for students in credit exchange programmes.

In brief

Year Fourth year

Teaching languageEnglish

Teaching term Six-monthly

ECTS credits 3.0

Number of hours 18.0

Teaching activityLecture course

ValidationFinal written examination

Mandatory teaching

Open to exchange students



Educational manager :
Guigner Sébastien [+]