Like many other disciplines that are now dominated by the perspectives of positivist social science, policy analysis was once closely connected to political theory and philosophy. As Douglas Torgerson has shown, even Harold Lasswell, usually regarded as a pioneer of the “policy sciences”, located his work in pragmatist philosophy and progressivist political thought. While the development of value free analytical techniques, usually borrowed from economics, has not gone uncontested, the collection of disparate approaches usually gathered under the heading of “post-positivist” policy theories has yet to make much of an impact on the discipline, especially in the training of professional policy analysts. Post-positivism in policy theory is more a state of mind than a well-developed theoretical perspective, with a rag bag of unrelated literary and interpretive techniques ranging from contemporary developments in narratology all the way back to traditional studies of rhetoric and metaphor. As globalization undercuts the ability of states to create and implement public policy in traditional ways, a development captured in the shift from government to governance, the search for new modes of policy-making challenges the assumptions on which the policy sciences have been founded. By opening a new space for a policy analysis that is deliberative, participatory, and reflective, governance has the potential to reconnect policy analysis, political theory, and literary theory.
|Keywords:||Globalization, Governance, Public Policy Theory, Deliberative Political Theory, Contextual Orientation|
Associate Professor and Head, Department of Political Science, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
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