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The Link Between Knowledge And Policy

The Link Between Knowledge And Policy



presentation based on a paper by Harry Jones, ODI. Presented at an IKM Emergent roundtable on knowledge management in The Hague.

presentation based on a paper by Harry Jones, ODI. Presented at an IKM Emergent roundtable on knowledge management in The Hague.



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  • Three paradigms (starting assumptions) well documented – all writing on knowledge and policy falls into one of three Not distinct
  • Rational model: - logic of information – knowledge inspires and guides policy - knowledge outside and independent of politics - reason rules – choices of which knowledge to use are based on logic - e.g. DEFRA model of evidence-based policy process
  • Pluralism and opportunism - challenges the rationality of the policy process: policy-making not necessarily linear “pragmatic decisions made in uncertainty” - flow of knowledge not taken for granted – opportunistic and dependent on efforts of actors - the worlds of knowledge generation and policy-making are intertwined - assumption that incorporation of knowledge is generally ‘good’ - e.g. Innovation systems – supply and demand, intermediaries, regulatory frameworks. Assumes promotion of knowledge uptake leads to social and economic benefits. - literature is solution oriented
  • Politics and legitimisation - power imposes itself on knowledge (reverse of the logical paradigm) - throughout the process, from generation and translation to uptake and use – politics is influencing - knowledge reflects and sustains existing power structures and imbalances - knowledge is a tool of politics and rather than informing decisions, is used to add legitimacy to political decisions after the fact - the legitimacy of knowledge itself is politically determined - literature focuses on problems but no solutions
  • Most recent set of theories – based on third paradigm How does power shape the interface between knowledge and policy Three overlapping categories
  • Actors: - Policy driven by material political economy - networks, alliances, coalitions of actors form to protect or advance sets of interests - policy-making involves processes of construction of such groups and interaction, negotiation and bargaining between them. - knowledge subordinate to interests in policy processes - knowledge is ammunition ‘pragmatic and flexible epistemology’ - this perspective highlights importance of analysing the flow of knowledge – where and by whom it is deployed and what is the motivation
  • Institutions: - formal and informal customs, patterns of behaviour and action - rules of the game – constitutional rules, cultural norms - this perspective focuses on structure as opposed to agency - explicit, implicit and tacit ‘rules’ shape the policy process and political behaviour by defining who is able to participate in different decision-making processes - ideas are translated, refracted and altered to fit prevailing institutions - gate keepers, silo holders, veto players - subtle bureaucratic processes - informal – leads into discourses - links with actors (structures and agents)
  • Discourse: - discourse = concepts and ideas relevant for policy and process of communication and policy formulation - discursive structures – concepts, metaphors, linguistic codes, rules of logic, ideas, values, framing of issues - knowledge and power is intertwined - the way knowledge is used is a tool for power - way of bringing together actors and institutions
  • The literarure covered a lot about the production of knowledge. We can recognise 4 areas that are advocated as key sources of knowledge for policy

The Link Between Knowledge And Policy The Link Between Knowledge And Policy Presentation Transcript