Policy analysis: Empiricism, social construction and realism

Spash, Clive L. (2014) Policy analysis: Empiricism, social construction and realism. Österreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft (ÖZP), 43 (4). pp. 401-410. ISSN 2313-5433

Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).

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In a recent article Ulrich Brand has discussed how best to perform policy analysis. I reflect upon the paper as an interdisciplinary researcher experienced in public policy problems and their analysis with a particular interest in the relationship between social, economic and environmental problems. At the centre of the paper is the contrast between two existing methodologies prevalent in political science and related disciplines. One is the rationalist approach, which takes on the character of a natural science, that believes in a fully knowable objective reality which can be observed by an independent investigator. The other is a strong social constructivist position called interpretative policy analysis (IPA), where knowledge and meaning become so intertwined as to make independence of the observer from the observed impossible and all knowledge highly subjective. Brand then offers his model as a way forward, but one that he closely associates with the latter. My contention is that policy analysis, and any way forward, needs to provide more of a transformative combination of elements from both approaches. Indeed I believe this is actually what Brand is doing.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: policy analysis / interpretive policy analysis / critical realism / historical materialism / critical state theory / knowledge
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Multi-Level Governance and Development
Version of the Document: Published
Variance from Published Version: None
Depositing User: Elena Simukovic
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2017 16:52
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2020 15:08
Related URLs:
FIDES Link: https://bach.wu.ac.at/d/research/results/69777/
URI: https://epub.wu.ac.at/id/eprint/5783


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