Policy Analysis as Discursive Practice: The Argumentative Turn

Frank Fischer

in Reframing Public Policy

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780199242641
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599255 | DOI:
 Policy Analysis as Discursive Practice: The Argumentative Turn

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This is the last of four chapters offering a postempiricist methodology for policy inquiry based on the logic of practical discourse, and explores the dialectics (logical structure) of policy argumentation. Approaches are examined to discursive policy analysis and policy argumentation with an emphasis on the integration of empirical and normative inquiry. The discussion is oriented around a particular line of development in the argumentative turn, namely, a dialectical communications approach based on the informal or good-reasons logic of argumentation. In particular, the productive capacities of the communications model are emphasized, namely, its ability to generate ways of thinking and seeing that open new possibilities for problem-solving and action, or, in the language of Habermas’s critical theory, its ‘communicative power’. The different sections of the chapter look at argumentative discursive policy practices, the communications model of argumentative policy analysis, the search for rational procedures in argumentation, the logic of policy arguments (practical discourse), policy argumentation as practical reason, policy argumentation as communicative interaction (the role of analytical discourses), and critical rationality as undistorted communication.

Keywords: analytical discourses; argumentative policy analysis; communications model; critical rationality; dialectical communications; discourse; discursive policy analysis; discursive policy practices; empirical inquiry; logic; normative inquiry; policy analysis; policy argumentation; policy inquiry; postempiricist methodology; practical discourse; rationality

Chapter.  10956 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Political Theory

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