Chapter

Making Social Science Relevant: Policy Inquiry in Critical Perspective

Frank Fischer

in Reframing Public Policy

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780199242641
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599255 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019924264X.003.0001
 Making Social Science Relevant: Policy Inquiry in Critical Perspective

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This introductory chapter makes the point that public policy studies has been one of the fastest growing specializations in the social sciences, and has largely been an American phenomenon. It looks at what the field includes, and at the previously dominant practice of technocratic policy analysis. The problems that have emerged with the technocratic practice of policy-analytic research are then examined by looking at the policy orientation in its broader political context. The emphasis here is on the American story, which best illustrates the limitations of the practice as it has emerged. The last section of the chapter looks at the postempiricist alternative. Policy argumentation and discourse (participatory policy analysis).

Keywords: discourse; participatory policy analysis; policy argumentation; policy inquiry; postempiricist approaches; public policy studies; public policy; social sciences; technocratic policy analysis; USA

Chapter.  8671 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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