The Dialectic Issue LifeCycle Model (DILC) is a very cool heuristic for thinking about how some societal problems become issues, what industry does when the problems climb the political agenda and how the issues are (or aren’t) ‘resolved’. Here’s a video starring its progenitors. The DILC has five phases, and looks at three categories of actors in detail – those trying to get the issue onto the agenda, those trying to keep it off/to shape the problem into a soluble issue, and the state functionaries (elected and non-elected).
Last year I came up with the idea of each of these ideal types writing letters to an agony aunt during each of the phases, seeking her strategic advice. I have posted these 15 (well, 16) letters and responses, one per day, over the last two weeks or so. This is the last one!
What next? We’ve been through the whole gamut here. We’ve had to open up our policy-making process to a bunch of oiks. Some of them even used the word capitalism as if it were an insult! Such frightful people. How do we stop them feeling like that should become the norm?
Wearily Identifying New Domains Of Worry; Policy Advocates Inspired Now?
Answer: Hello WINDOWPAIN. A pat on the back is in order, I think. And trebles all round – if you can get corporate sponsorship, of course. You’ve managed to create a new opportunity for capital accumulation, which is, after all, what states are all about. And you’ve got a couple of cities that fancy themselves as locations for a sustainability fix too. Well done you!
Of course, the activists may try to keep you and your future employers to the regulatory/voluntary agreements. But in the long march through the institutions, you are on your home ground, and this is a fight of logistics rather than tactics or strategy. And, even hollowed out, the state is more than a match for a bunch of activists, especially when civil society is getting steadily more impoverished.
Just to make sure though, gag them and attack their funding, okay, to stop history repeating on you.