Policy Exceptionalism: analysis of ideational framework governing agricultural sector in Lithuania

Jonė Vitkauskaitė-Ramanauskienė


After WWII, the agricultural sector emerged as an area of exception in western democracies and is often characterised by sector-specific policies, compartmentalised institutions, well-organised interests’ groups and ideas explaining why this sector cannot be governed by free-market forces. Nevertheless, over the last three decades, the sector has been reformed to incorporate neoliberal and environmental demands to a certain extent. Hence, the current agricultural regime consists of two competing discourses – policy exceptionalism versus post-exceptionalism. The study analyses this ideational struggle in the context of Lithuania. The study conducts interpretative discourse analysis of a site of discursive contestation, namely parliamentary debates over policy changes, which sparked farmers’ unrest in Autumn, 2019. It is argued that policy exceptionalism is a dominant discourse governing Lithuanian agricultural sector and that it is maintained by the ruling party. Furthermore, it serves as a discursive barrier to the incorporation of environmental concerns into the agricultural policy-making process.


Lithuanian agricultural policy, agriculture-environment nexus, policy exceptionalism, discourse analysis.

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"Public Policy and Administration" ISSN online 2029-2872 / ISSN print 1648-2603