Postpositivism and the policy process

Authored by: Raul Perez Lejano

Routledge Handbook of Public Policy

Print publication date:  November  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415782456
eBook ISBN: 9780203097571
Adobe ISBN: 9781136223259


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Our understanding of what policy-making is, and what policy analysts do, evolved beyond a clear conception of policy-making as a linear, rational exercise to a more unsettled but pragmatic view of it as a complex, plurivocal, indeterminate, and often controversial act. This marked transition has been referred to as the argumentative (or discursive, linguistic, communicative) turn in policy (Fischer and Forester 1993). As will be discussed, this opening up to a broader landscape has both enlivened and fractured the policy discipline (to the extent that the word discipline is itself problematic). It has moved scholars and practitioners of policy to wonder, “what is our science?” or perhaps, more appropriately, “what is our folly?”

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