Reframing Public Policy: Discursive Politics and Deliberative Practices

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OUP Oxford, 2003 M06 20 - 278 pages
In recent years a set of radical new approaches to public policy has been developing. These approaches, drawing on discursive analysis and participatory deliberative practices, have come to challenge the dominant technocratic, empiricist models in policy analysis. In his major new book Frank Fischer brings together this new work for the first time and critically examines it. In an accessible way he describes the theoretical, methodological, and political requirements and implications of the new "post-empiricist" approach to public policy. The volume includes a discussion of the social construction of policy problems, the role of interpretation and narrative analysis in policy inquiry, the dialectics of policy argumentation, and the uses of participatory policy analysis. The book will be required reading for anyone studying, researching, or formulating public policy.

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Contents

Making Social Science Relevant Policy Inquiry in Critical Perspective
1
Constructing Policy Theory Ideas Language and Discourse
21
Public Policy as Discursive Construct Social Meaning and Multiple Realities
48
Public Policy and Discourse Analysis
73
Discourse versus Advocacy Coalitions Interpreting Policy Change and Learning
94
Postempiricist Foundations Social Constructionism and Practical Discourse
117
Interpreting Public Policy Normative Frames and Methodological Issues
139
Public Policy as Narrative Stories Frames and Metanarratives
161
Policy Analysis as Discursive Practice The Argumentative Turn
181
Citizens and Experts Democratizing Policy Deliberation
205
The Deliberative Policy Analyst Theoretical Issues and Practical Challenges
221
References
238
Index
257
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Page 29 - The concept of institutions is used here to refer to the formal rules, compliance procedures, and standard operating practices that structure the relationship between individuals in various units of the polity and economy.
Page 3 - ... is twofold. In part it is directed toward the policy process, and in part toward the intelligence needs of policy. The first task, which is the development of a science of policy forming and execution, uses the methods of social and psychological inquiry. The second task, which is the improving of the concrete content of the information and the interpretations available to policy-makers, typically goes outside the boundaries of social science and psychology.
Page 150 - What the ethnographer is in fact faced with - except when (as, of course, he must do) he is pursuing the more automatized routines of data collection - is a multiplicity of complex conceptual structures, many of them superimposed upon or knotted into one another, which are at once strange, irregular, and inexplicit, and which he must contrive somehow first to grasp and then to render.
Page 98 - These assumptions lead to one of the critical hypotheses of the entire framework; Hypothesis 1: On major controversies within a policy subsystem when core beliefs are in dispute, the lineup of allies and opponents tends to be rather stable over periods of a decade or so.6 Thus the framework explicitly rejects the view that actors are primarily motivated by their short-term self-interest and thus that "coalitions of convenience" of highly varying composition will dominate policy making over time.
Page 98 - Hypothesis 5: The core (basic attributes) of a governmental action program is unlikely to be changed in the absence of significant perturbations external to the subsystem, that is, changes in socioeconomic conditions, system-wide governing coalitions, or policy outputs from other subsystems.
Page 33 - We argue that control over knowledge and information is an important dimension of power and that the diffusion of new ideas and information can lead to new patterns of behavior and prove to be an important determinant of international policy coordination.
Page 73 - ... a specific ensemble of ideas, concepts, and categorizations that are produced, reproduced, and transformed in a particular set of practices and through which meaning is given to physical and social realities
Page 54 - popularizers" who can bridge environmentalism and science 3. Media attention in which the problem is "framed
Page 61 - Problems come into discourse and therefore into existence as reinforcements of ideologies, not simply because they are there or because they are important for wellbeing. They signify who are virtuous and useful and who are dangerous or inadequate, which actions will be rewarded and which penalized. They...
Page 182 - Its crucial argumentative aspect is what distinguishes policy analysis from the academic social sciences on the one hand, and from problem-solving methodologies such as operations research on the other.

About the author (2003)

Frank Fischer is Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University

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