By Barrie Houlihan
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Extra info for Sport, Policy and Politics: A Comparative Analysis
Some communities may lack the necessary value consensus or strength of mutual interests to provide the basis for the formation of a network. Part of the value of using the concept of a policy community, and the related concepts of policy universe and policy network, to study the process of policy-making is derived from its appeal as a descriptive device which takes account of the conventional wisdom concerning the negotiated nature of policy-making and avoids the rigidities of other, for example, corporatist, metaphors.
The capacity of professions to exert influence within policy communities raises a number of questions with regard to sport as strong professions are in short supply and professionalisation is at best slow and also sharply contested. Whereas in some countries PE teachers, coaches and sports development officers are organised into representative associations and a number have an established process for accreditation, few have acknowledged status and most are still expending considerable resources in attempting to promote their claims to professionalism.
In summary, a policy community contains those actors with a general concern for sport policy, while the policy network contains those actors involved in developing policy responses to a particular issue or problem. Distinguishing between the concepts of a policy community and a policy network has three important advantages (Wright 1988:606). First, it enables a distinction to be drawn between those actors within the community 20 Comparing policy for sport and recreation who are none the less excluded from policy networks.