The Argumentative Policy Approaches

The turn to arguments is the focus of a deliberative approach to policy analysis which has emerged to counter the standard technocratic emphasis on empiricism. Rather than emerging from epistemological considerations per se, it is based on an examination of what policy analysis and decision makers actually do in the real world of policy making. As such, it addresses the question of relevance which has long plagued policy analysis. Moreover, contrary to misunderstandings, it is more rather than less rigorous than neo-positivist policy analysis insofar as it accepts the need for empirical inquiry but requires that the data be examined against the contentions and assumptions of normative policy arguments. By facilitating deliberation, it seeks to elucidate the social and political meanings of competing policy discourses and the arguments derived from them. The resultant transparency is seen as a contribution to a more participatory approach to democratic policymaking.

 

 

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