Talk: In Pursuit of Usable Knowledge- Policy Analysis as Deliberative Practice (Frank Fischer, Humboldt University, Berlin)

April 14, 2021 @ 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
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The Centre for Policy Studies is organising a talk by Frank Fischer, Humboldt University, Berlin- titled ‘In Pursuit of Usable Knowledge- Policy Analysis as Deliberative Practice.’


Policy analysis emerged in the 1960s as a method for helping to develop solutions to pressing social and economic problems. Although it was initiated with great promise, the real-world results proved to be less than optimal.  An ensuing search for “usable knowledge” led to methodological debates about the nature of public problems and the ways they might be better approached. Various alternatives emerged, ranging from more rigorous empirical analysis to deliberative argumentation and constructivist epistemologies. After presenting the competing perspectives, this presentation makes a case for the deliberative approach based on policy argumentation.  Short of rejecting empirical analysis, the deliberative approach offers a way of integrating empirical and normative inquiry in a more comprehensive analytical framework.  Such an approach shifts the policy-analytic task from problem-solving per se, to an emphasis on supplying politicians and citizens with a wider spectrum of policy relevant information, or what Weiss referred to as a public “enlightenment function” of policy analysis.

About the Speaker:

Frank Fischer  was Distinguished Professor of Politics and Global Affairs at Rutgers University in the USA until 2015. In addition to having been at the Institute of Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam, he is a research scholar in the Department of Agricultural and Food Policy at the Albrecht Daniel Thaer Institute of Humboldt University in Berlin and Faculty Fellow in Politics at the University of Kassel, Germany. He has been Co-editor of Critical Policy Studies journal and Handbook of Research on Public Policy Series editor for Edward Elgar. In addition to widely lecturing around the world on environmental politics and policy analysis, he has published 17 books and a large number of essays. The books include Citizens, Experts and the Environment (Duke 2000), Reframing Public Policy: Discursive Politics and Deliberative Practices (Oxford 2003), Handbook of Public Policy Analysis: Theory, Politics and Methods, co-edited with Mara Sidney and Gerald Miller (Taylor and Francis 2006), Democracy and Expertise: Reorienting Policy Inquiry (Oxford 2009), The Argumentative Turn Revisited: Public Policy as Communicative Practice, co-edited with Herbert Gottweis (Duke 2012), the Handbook of Critical Policy Studies, co-edited with Douglas Torgerson, Anna Durnova and Michael Orsini ( Elgar 2015) and Climate Crisis and the Democratic Prospect (Oxford 2017), Truth and Post-Truth in Public Policy: Interpretive the Arguments (Cambridge 2021), and “Interpretive Policy Analysis: Meaning and Context”, edited with Douglas Torgerson (forthcoming Elgar 2022). Currently, he is working on environmental democracy, deliberative environmental policy analysis and the relationship between post-truth politics and climate denial. In addition to research in the United States and Germany, he has conducted field research in India, Nepal and Thailand on citizen participation and local ecological knowledge. He has also received numerous awards, including the Harold Lasswell Award for contributions to Public Policy Scholarship and the Aaron Wildavsky APSA Award for Enduring Contributions to the Field of Public Policy Studies.

Image Source: Shutterstock by Trueffelpix


April 14, 2021
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Event Category:




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