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Political Research Exchange

Roundtable: Setting the Course for Deliberative Policy Analysis: A Dialogue on Integrating Interpretation, Deliberation, and Practice

Policy Analysis
Political Theory
Public Administration
Policy Change
Policy Implementation
Panel Number
Panel Chair
Koen Bartels
University of Birmingham
Panel Co-Chair
Hendrik Wagenaar
Kings College London
Panel Discussant
Maarten Hajer
University of Utrecht

25/08/2018 14:00 - 15:40
Building: VMP 9 Floor: 3 Room: A315
Fifteen years ago, Deliberative Policy Analysis (Hajer and Wagenaar, 2003) advocated a new and different kind of policy analysis that would generate more relevant and usable knowledge for policy actors. It was one among several landmark contributions to the then emerging field of interpretive, critical and deliberative policy analysis (Fischer and Forester, 1993; Yanow, 1996, 2000; Bevir & Rhodes, 2003; Fischer, 2003). This field has grown substantially since. A second wave of seminal texts suggests that it has now come of age (Bevir, 2010; Hoppe, 2010; Wagenaar, 2011; Yanow and Schwartz-Shea, 2011; Schwartz-Shea and Yanow, 2012; Fischer and Gottweis, 2012; Fischer et al., 2015; Bevir and Blakely, forthcoming; Rhodes et al., forthcoming).

While they all make a strong case for the past achievements and future development of deliberative, interpretive, and critical approaches to policy analysis, these seminal texts evince that we cannot speak of a unified field guided by a single theoretical perspective. Instead, they identify various approaches and streams that have taken the field in different directions. Wagenaar (2011) for example distinguishes between hermeneutic, discursive, and dialogical approaches, while Fischer et al. (2015) differentiate interpretive, critical, and post-structuralist perspectives. Indeed, the outline of this Section argues that the three pillars of deliberative policy analysis that Hajer and Wagenaar (2013) identified—interpretation, practice, and deliberation—have moved apart rather than in harmony.

This raises fundamental questions: How does deliberative policy analysis (and its three pillars) relate to other forms of policy analysis? What are their common denominators? And what is the distinct contribution of deliberative policy analysis to the field? In addition, crucial to Hajer and Wagenaar’s (2003) ambitions, what does deliberative policy analysis help us do? In which ways does it actually lead to more relevant and usable knowledge for policy actors? And finally, in which ways should it be further developed and improved? Is there an overall case to be made for a shared research agenda and wider academic and societal recognition?

The goal of this roundtable is to set the course for deliberative policy analysis by facilitating a dialogue on how interpretation, practice, and deliberation could be integrated. It brings together three representatives of each of these pillars. They will be asked to explain what they have to say for themselves (i.e., the nature and contribution of their pillar) and what they have to say to each other (i.e., how the three pillars have been and could be integrated). The authors of Deliberative Policy Analysis will act as discussants to respond to what has emerged from the roundtable and reflect on the past and future course of their approach. This dialogue should lead to a more integrated statement of the nature, methods, and value of deliberative policy analysis.

Paper List

Title Details
The Deliberative Pillar of Deliberative Policy Analysis View Paper Details
The Interpretive Pillar of Deliberative Policy Analysis View Paper Details
The Practice Pillar of Deliberative Policy Analysis View Paper Details
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