Theoretical Perspectives in Policy Analysis

Standing Group

Number of members: 230

Convenor

  • Anna Durnova (Charles University in Prague)
  • Hendrik Wagenaar (Kings College London)
  • Koen Bartels (University of Birmingham)
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About

The central goal of the Standing Group is to explore the path of a critical and democratic policy analysis. We draw inspiration from the founding fathers of policy science: John Dewey, Charles Merriam, and Harold Lasswell, as well as Critical Theorists such as Jürgen Habermas. Their insight is that policy analysis should never be seen apart from the society in which it functions and to which it contributes. Theoretical Perspectives in Policy Analysis has two broad aims. The first is enlightenment, in the sense of revealing the, often taken-for-granted, cognitive horizons of social and policy issues. Such intellectual constraints restrict both our understanding of these issues as the formulation of creative, effective and just solutions. The second is transformation, in the sense of enabling and facilitating groups to free themselves from oppressive conditions or practices. Members of this Standing Group celebrate methodological and conceptual innovation rather than highlighting a single approach.

Aims & Objectives

The central goal of the Standing Group Theoretical Perspectives in Policy Analysis is to explore the path of a critical and democratic policy analysis. Members of this Standing Group celebrate methodological and conceptual innovation rather than highlighting a single approach. In addition to traditional quantitative methods, participants of this Standing Group use a variety of different approaches to policy analysis, such as qualitative research, discourse analysis, interpretive, deliberative and practice-based approaches, political ethnography, and collaborative and action research. We think that these approaches are conversant with the new insights in social theory, political theory, and contemporary theories of public administration and the policy process.

Over the past decades the Standing Group has been part of the development of a thriving international academic community. The International Conference in Interpretive Policy Analysis is the flagship conference of this community. Over the past decade, it has held successful meetings in Birmingham, Amsterdam, Essex, Kassel, Grenoble, Cardiff, Tilburg, Vienna, Wageningen, Lille, Hull and Leicester. The conference takes great efforts to facilitate early career researchers. It organises a pre-conference methodology school and methodology sessions for PhD students during the conference. In 2018, members of the Standing Group organised a summer school in interpretive policy analysis in Amsterdam

The Standing Group annually convenes a Section at the ECPR General Conference. It also supports – and organises panels at – the International Conference in Public Policy. The Interpretive Politics Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association convenes panels for interpretive political scientists at the Annual PSA conference. The Public Administration Theory Network organises an annual meeting for public policy and administration theorists. The Standing Group’s journal Critical Policy Studies is a well-established and recognised outlet for high quality publications. Each year it gives an award for the best article and the best article of an early career scholar. The Standing Group is also affiliated with the renowned US-based journal Administrative Theory & Praxis and the prominent journal Policy & Politics.  

"Wherever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship" - Harry S. Truman


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