Chapter

The nature of evidence in a politicised policy area

Mark Monaghan

in Evidence versus politics

Published by Policy Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9781847426970
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302247 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847426970.003.0006
The nature of evidence in a politicised policy area

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This chapter presents an ACF-inspired analysis of the way that evidence was understood by key players in the policy process in relation to the 2004 cannabis policy change. This draws on subsequent events relating to broader interest in the UK drug classification system. The opening discussion focuses on the appreciations of evidence from the various perspectives identified in the previous chapter in relation to the initial reclassification of cannabis. This is followed by a summary of evidence utilisation in this particular subsystem. The discussion suggests that a plurality of different accounts of evidence can be ascertained. It then looks at how to explain the various accounts of evidence. The existence of a hierarchy of evidence is put forward here as a possible explanation, but ultimately ruled out on the grounds that appreciations of differing evidence are ideological as opposed to being primarily methodological.

Keywords: ACF; 2004 cannabis policy; UK drug classification; evidence utilisation

Chapter.  9070 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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