ECPR Joint Sessions
University of Nicosia, Nicosia
10 - 14 April 2018




Technocratic Expertise and the Democratic Prospect: Deliberative Policy Inquiry as Citizen Empowerment

Demoicracy
 
Elites
 
Governance
 
Policy Analysis
 
Policy-Making
 
Public Policy
 
Presenter
Frank Fischer
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Authors
Frank Fischer
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Abstract
Technocratic Expertise and the Democratic Prospect:
Deliberative Policy Inquiry as Citizen Empowerment
Abstract
Taking note of a renewed interest in technocratic expertise in contemporary political systems, especially in the face of political crisis, this essay focuses on the apolitical, anti-democratic nature of technocratic theory and expert practices. It singles out technocracy´s animosity toward democratic decision-making, in particular the purported folly of relying on uninformed citizens and the politics of “muddling through.” As a counter response, the paper suggests a democratic deliberative turn. Toward this end, it calls attention to both an alternative analytic-deliberative perspective developed by the U. S. National Research Council and the postpositivist methodological practices of deliberative policy analysis which can extend the analytic-deliberative orientation. Beyond theoretical discussion, the paper offers three brief case illustrations of deliberative policy inquiry that have directly confronted technocratic expertise. It concludes by drawing lessons from these cases for democratic struggles.
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"Nothing in politics is ever as good or bad as it first appears" - Edward Boyle


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