Reframing Public Policy: Discursive Politics and Deliberative Practices

OUP Oxford
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In recent years a set of radical new approaches to public policy has been developing. These approaches, drawing on discursive analysis and participatory deliberative practices, have come to challenge the dominant technocratic, empiricist models in policy analysis. In his major new book Frank Fischer brings together this new work for the first time and critically examines it. In an accessible way he describes the theoretical, methodological, and political requirements and implications of the new "post-empiricist" approach to public policy. The volume includes a discussion of the social construction of policy problems, the role of interpretation and narrative analysis in policy inquiry, the dialectics of policy argumentation, and the uses of participatory policy analysis. The book will be required reading for anyone studying, researching, or formulating public policy.
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About the author

Frank Fischer is Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University
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Additional Information

Publisher
OUP Oxford
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Published on
Jun 20, 2003
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Pages
278
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ISBN
9780191529368
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Industries / General
Political Science / History & Theory
Political Science / Public Policy / General
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The tension between professional expertise and democratic governance has become increasingly significant in Western politics. Environmental politics in particular is a hotbed for citizens who actively challenge the imposition of expert theories that ignore forms of local knowledge that can help to relate technical facts to social values.
Where information ideologues see the modern increase in information as capable of making everyone smarter, others see the emergence of a society divided between those with and those without knowledge. Suggesting realistic strategies to bridge this divide, Fischer calls for meaningful nonexpert involvement in policymaking and shows how the deliberations of ordinary citizens can help solve complex social and environmental problems by contributing local contextual knowledge to the professionals’ expertise. While incorporating theoretical critiques of positivism and methodology, he also offers hard evidence to demonstrate that the ordinary citizen is capable of a great deal more participation than is generally recognized. Popular epidemiology in the United States, the Danish consensus conference, and participatory resource mapping in India serve as examples of the type of inquiry he proposes, showing how the local knowledge of citizens is invaluable to policy formation. In his conclusion Fischer examines the implications of the approach for participatory democracy and the democratization of contemporary deliberative structures.
This study will interest political scientists, public policy practitioners, sociologists, scientists, environmentalists, political activists, urban planners, and public administrators along with those interested in understanding the relationship between democracy and science in a modern technological society.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • SELECTED BY THE ECONOMIST AS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR

“A rambunctious book that is itself alive with the animal spirits of the marketplace.”—The Wall Street Journal

Freedom’s Forge reveals how two extraordinary American businessmen—General Motors automobile magnate  William “Big Bill” Knudsen and shipbuilder Henry J. Kaiser—helped corral, cajole, and inspire business leaders across the country to mobilize the “arsenal of democracy” that propelled the Allies to victory in World War II. Drafting top talent from companies like Chrysler, Republic Steel, Boeing, Lockheed, GE, and Frigidaire, Knudsen and Kaiser turned auto plants into aircraft factories and civilian assembly lines into fountains of munitions. In four short years they transformed America’s army from a hollow shell into a truly global force, laying the foundations for the country’s rise as an economic as well as military superpower. Freedom’s Forge vividly re-creates American industry’s finest hour, when the nation’s business elites put aside their pursuit of profits and set about saving the world.

Praise for Freedom’s Forge

“A rarely told industrial saga, rich with particulars of the growing pains and eventual triumphs of American industry . . . Arthur Herman has set out to right an injustice: the loss, down history’s memory hole, of the epic achievements of American business in helping the United States and its allies win World War II.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Magnificent . . . It’s not often that a historian comes up with a fresh approach to an absolutely critical element of the Allied victory in World War II, but Pulitzer finalist Herman . . . has done just that.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A compulsively readable tribute to ‘the miracle of mass production.’ ”—Publishers Weekly

“The production statistics cited by Mr. Herman . . . astound.”—The Economist

“[A] fantastic book.”—Forbes

“Freedom’s Forge is the story of how the ingenuity and energy of the American private sector was turned loose to equip the finest military force on the face of the earth. In an era of gathering threats and shrinking defense budgets, it is a timely lesson told by one of the great historians of our time.”—Donald Rumsfeld
Can contemporary democratic governments tackle climate crisis? Some argue that democracy has to be a central part of a strategy to deal with climate change. Others argue that experience shows it not to be up to the challenge in the time frame available-that it will require a stronger hand, even a form of eco-authoritarianism. A question that does not lend itself to an easy assessment, this volume seeks to out and assess the competing answers. While the book supports the case for environmental democracy, it argues that establishing and sustaining democratic practices will be difficult during the global climate turmoil ahead, especially in the face of state of emergencies. This inquiry undertakes a search for an appropriate political-ecological strategy for preserving a measure of democratic governance during hard times. Without ignoring the global dimensions of the crisis, the analysis finds an alternative path in the theory and practices participatory environmental governance embodied in a growing relocalization movement, and global eco-localism generally. Although such movements largely operate under the radar of the social sciences, the media and the political realm generally, these vibrant socio-ecological movements not only speak to the crisis ahead, but are already well established and thriving on the ground, including ecovillages, eco-communes, eco-neighborhoods, and local transition initiatives. With the help of these ideas and projects, the task is to influence the discourse of environmental political theory in ways that can be of assistance to those who will face climate crisis in its full magnitude.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2019 * WINNER OF THE J ANTHONY LUKAS WORK-IN-PROGRESS AWARD * FINANCIAL TIMES’ BEST BOOKS OF 2019 * NPR FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2019 * FINALIST FOR THE FINACIAL TIMES/MCKINSEY BUSINESS BOOK OF 2019 * KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST BOOKS OF 2019 * SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST BOOKS OF 2019

“Superb…Among the best books ever written about an American corporation.” —Bryan Burrough, The New York Times Book Review

Just as Steve Coll told the story of globalization through ExxonMobil and Andrew Ross Sorkin told the story of Wall Street excess through Too Big to Fail, Christopher Leonard’s Kochland uses the extraordinary account of how one of the biggest private companies in the world grew to be that big to tell the story of modern corporate America.

The annual revenue of Koch Industries is bigger than that of Goldman Sachs, Facebook, and US Steel combined. Koch is everywhere: from the fertilizers that make our food to the chemicals that make our pipes to the synthetics that make our carpets and diapers to the Wall Street trading in all these commodities. But few people know much about Koch Industries and that’s because the billionaire Koch brothers have wanted it that way.

For five decades, CEO Charles Koch has kept Koch Industries quietly operating in deepest secrecy, with a view toward very, very long-term profits. He’s a genius businessman: patient with earnings, able to learn from his mistakes, determined that his employees develop a reverence for free-market ruthlessness, and a master disrupter. These strategies made him and his brother David together richer than Bill Gates.

But there’s another side to this story. If you want to understand how we killed the unions in this country, how we widened the income divide, stalled progress on climate change, and how our corporations bought the influence industry, all you have to do is read this book.

Seven years in the making, Kochland “is a dazzling feat of investigative reporting and epic narrative writing, a tour de force that takes the reader deep inside the rise of a vastly powerful family corporation that has come to influence American workers, markets, elections, and the very ideas debated in our public square. Leonard’s work is fair and meticulous, even as it reveals the Kochs as industrial Citizens Kane of our time” (Steve Coll, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Private Empire).
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