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Although some applications of the ACF merely identify the competing sides of a political debate

Although some applications of the ACF merely identify the competing sides of a political debate, the purpose of the ACF is much broader: to explain belief change and policy change over long periods. This chapter identifies four paths to major policy change within the ACF: (1) policy-oriented learning, (2) external shocks, (3) internal shocks, (4) a hurting stalemate. In addition, the ACF provides a theoretical guide to researchers for understanding the complexities of political conflict and mobilization. It starts by identifying the properties of policy subsystems, the stable and unstable parameters of the broader policy system, and the different components of policy core beliefs. This chapter adds to the list of key variables by listing categories of coalition resources. Second, a growing criticism of the ACF is that it is constantly being revised and modified, thereby creating a “moving target” to criticism. A cursory read of the literature indicates, however, that the ACF obviously is not moving fast enough to avoid a healthy dose of skeptical examination. To us, the capacity to revise the ACF every six years or so (e.g., 1993, 1999, 2006) is a strength of the framework and a productive path of science. That is why we insist on clear concepts and falsifiable hypotheses (see Appendix 7.3). We want to be clear enough to be proven wrong. But when we are proven wrong—as in the pluralist assumptions in early versions of the ACF—we reserve the right to revise the framework in response to those criticisms so long as

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I'm Amelia

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I'm Annette!

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