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Reframing Public PolicyDiscursive Politics and Deliberative Practices$
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Frank Fischer

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199242641

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019924264X.001.0001

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Constructing Policy Theory: Ideas, Language, and Discourse

Constructing Policy Theory: Ideas, Language, and Discourse

Chapter:
(p.21) 2 Constructing Policy Theory: Ideas, Language, and Discourse
Source:
Reframing Public Policy
Author(s):

Frank Fischer (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/019924264X.003.0002

This chapter examines the renewed interest in the role of ideas, language and discourse in policy studies. Distinguishing postempiricist from mainstream perspectives, the discussion sets the stage for a more detailed presentation of the discourse–analytic approach and the deliberative practices to which it gives rise. There are seven main sections: Reconsidering Ideas; Beyond Self-Interest: Ideas Matter; Neo-Institutionalism and Policy Ideas (neo-institutionalism is defined as a theoretical orientation that has focused on the evolutionary relationship of ideas and norms to institutional practices); Policy Communities, Issue Networks, and Learning –– the studies discussed include Heclo’s (1978) seminal conceptualization of issue networks, and the work of Haas (1992) on policy communities and networks; Critical Theory: Distorted Communication and Discursive Ideals –– this looks at the critical theory of Habermas, which supplies a normative ideal for communication and argumentation; Discourse of Power V this looks at Foucault’s focus on the role of discourses as they have functioned in specific historical contexts; and Postempiricism as Discursive Policy Inquiry.

Keywords:   argumentation, communication, critical theory, discourse, discursive politics, Haas, Habermas, Heclo, ideas, issue networks, language, learning, neo-institutionalism, policy communities, policy ideas, policy inquiry, policy studies, policy theory, postempiricist approaches, power, public policy

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