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Symbolic and Substantive Policies

Another way of looking at policy is identifying the type of purpose it presents. It could be either the tangible substantive policy or the ones that appeal to the people’s desires which is the symbolic policy. These are two different types of policy which greatly differ from one another not only in their purpose but also in their content. Substantive policies are the types of policies which deals with tangible and substantial problems, and these policies are created to directly address these problems.

It is also known as a material policy as it provides concrete resources for those who benefit from it and can do a lot of damage to those who are negatively affected (Weidenbaum, 2005). These are the policies which can actually do something if it goes opposed. One good example is the criminal justice policy that if focused on allocating funds to procure new equipments for crime scene collection.

Another example of substantive policy is the power that gives the law enforcement the ability to conduct or create wire taps in order to avert terrorism, and it is made possible by the USA Patriot Act of 2001. The next type of policy is the symbolic policy. This type is more of an appeal to the desire and values of the people instead of actually providing a tangible outcome.

This is often used by politicians in their speeches since this kind of talk would evoke a particular response from the people without actually citing specific instances that would require tangible awards. These are the policy which does not deliver what it may seem to deliver; instead they can just evoke a certain feeling of contentment and assurance from the people (Petticrew & Roberts, 2003). One good example is the criminal justice symbolic policy in response to the high incidence of carjacking.

These are passed by several members of the Congress in order to show the people that they are doing something against carjacking. This is despite the fact that the law is mostly for appearance since there is already the presence of federal law against robbery, and it includes the incidence of carjacking.

References: Petticrew, M. , & Roberts, H. (2003). Evidence, hierarchies, and typologies: Horses for courses. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 57(7), 527. Weidenbaum, M. (2005). A new approach to regulatory reform. Society, 42(2).

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