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Theory, Policy, and Society

  • Policy analysis, science, and politics: from ‘speaking truth to power’ to ‘making sense together’.
    by Robert Hoppe, University of Twente. Paper online. Link added July 31, 2000.
    Scroll about 3/4 of an inch down the file to the paragraph that begins "In this situation, public debate has become even more fragile than it has been before. It has become diluted by the predominance of purely pragmatic, managerial and administrative argument . . . ." How does this perspective of "making sense" fit with the Habermasian concept of public discourse? What is one of the basic underlying assumption behind the statement that "On the one hand, the marketplace of political ideas and arguments is thriving; on the other, politicians and citizens are at a loss in judging its nature and quality." To me, this suggests that citizens have not been adequately prepared to engage in such discourse, and that one of the best solutions to that dilemma would be to provide forums for such training. What do you think Prof. Charles Notess might suggest?

  • Program of the Symposium on Theory, Policy & Society
    Academiegebouw, Leiden, June 24-25, 1999
    • "policy analysis and new democratic governance

      "This theme would focus on the implications of recent social and political theory for the debate on new institutional arrangements in the sphere of policy making. New experimental practices such as ‘co-decision making’, ‘interactive decision making’ or ‘stakeholder planning’, are examples of an observable trend to experiment with new ways of organizing policy making. Yet should we understand these new policy practices? Do they facilitate the knowledge base of government and thereby strengthen the institutional capacity of government? Do these new practices also speak to a commitment to make policy making more democratic? What empirical evidence do we have? What sort of criteria do we have to assess these new practices? What should our agenda be in this field?

    • " Analysing stories and discourses: new approaches

      Many of us have been experimenting with ways in which to analyse ‘practice stories’, frames, metaphors, stanza’s, narratives, story lines and discourses. What can we say about the strengths and weaknesses of the methodologies that we have developed in the course of this work? Which next steps should be taken?

    • "Cultural approaches to policy analysis

      "Culture has re-emerged as an interest in policy studies over the last years. Initially many scholars seemed pre-occupied with the recognition of various cultural stereotypes, often drawing on the typology of Mary Douglas and others. Yet now scholarship seems to move beyond that conceptual frame - that was at least as contraining as it was enabling. Yet how can we broaden the investigation of culture avoiding the many pitfalls that have accompanied the usage of the concept of culture in the past? We need to appreciate the various forms of knowledge that participants bring to the policy process and we must enhance the dynamics of ‘identity’ in the policy process, if only to be able to better understand the ways in which different cultural backgrounds influence the ‘institutional capacity’ of various political practices. Is this a useful track to explore? What are the do’s and don’ts? Where do we need the concept of culture, where does it add to our existing concepts of interpretive policy science? How does it influence our thinking about democratic political governance?"