The Argumentative Turn Revisited

Public Policy as Communicative Practice

The Argumentative Turn Revisited

Book Pages: 400 Illustrations: 2 tables Published: June 2012

Politics > Political Science, Public Policy

Rejecting the notion that policy analysis and planning are value-free technical endeavors, an argumentative approach takes into account the ways that policy is affected by other factors, including culture, discourse, and emotion. The contributors to this new collection consider how far argumentative policy analysis has come during the past two decades and how its theories continue to be refined through engagement with current thinking in social theory and with the real-life challenges facing contemporary policy makers.

The approach speaks in particular to the limits of rationalistic, technoscientific policy making in the complex, unpredictable world of the early twenty-first century. These limits have been starkly illustrated by responses to events such as the environmental crisis, the near collapse of the world economy, and the disaster at the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan. Addressing topics including deliberative democracy, collaborative planning, new media, rhetoric, policy frames, and transformative learning, the essays shed new light on the ways that policy is communicatively created, conveyed, understood, and implemented. Taken together, they show argumentative policy inquiry to be an urgently needed approach to policy analysis and planning.

Contributors. Giovanni Attili, Hubertus Buchstein, Stephen Coleman, John S. Dryzek, Frank Fischer, Herbert Gottweis, Steven Griggs, Mary Hawkesworth, Patsy Healey, Carolyn M. Hendriks, David Howarth, Dirk Jörke, Alan Mandell, Leonie Sandercock, Vivien A. Schmidt, Sanford F. Schram


“This is a worthwhile resource for an emerging and important area of policy studies.” — R. Heineman, Choice

“The ‘argumentative turn’ has grown into a conceptually rich and still fertile and promising approach to policy research and theory in numerous policy domains and issues.”

— Robert Hoppe, Social Policy & Administration

“Overall, this book presents a good, updated picture of the field of argumentative policy analysis.” — Nick Turnbull, Critical Policy Studies

“Fischer and Gottweis have assembled a remarkable book which makes a very real contribution not only to the critical policy studies literature but also to wider political analysis in general. A weighty edited collection . . . The chapters are theoretically vigorous—the authors score well on the intellectual duty of the analyst to ‘show one’s workings’—and consequently this is an extremely valuable book, providing a greater insight into certain perspectives than has previously existed…this has ‘classic text’ written all over it.” — David S. Moon, Political Studies Review

"The Argumentative Turn Revisited is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding and improving democracy in policy and planning. Through theoretical refinement and new empirical examples, the contributors do an excellent job of further developing an already-strong approach to policy analysis and planning research." — Bent Flyvbjerg, author of Making Social Science Matter: Why Social Inquiry Fails and How It Can Succeed Again

"Given the strength of the argumentative turn in scholarly circles and its still-growing promise in policy studies, these essays by important figures in argumentative analysis will be welcomed by policy scholars and practitioners alike. Many rank-and-file social scientists still associate this school of thought with Habermasian communicative action/deliberative action frameworks. This collection recalls those origins even as it shows how far the argumentative turn has progressed beyond them. It should be used far and wide." — Timothy Luke, Director, Center for Digital Discourse and Culture, Virginia Tech

"The argumentative turn in policy analysis has taken another major turn for the better. Whether one accepts the arguments presented here or not, they cannot be ignored, and this book contains an impressive collection of essays advancing this approach to policy." — B. Guy Peters, coauthor of Interactive Governance: Advancing the Paradigm


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Frank Fischer is Professor of Politics and Global Affairs at Rutgers University. He also teaches at the university's E. J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and is a Senior Faculty Fellow at the University of Kassel in Germany. His books include Democracy and Expertise: Reorienting Policy Inquiry and The Argumentative Turn in Policy Analysis and Planning (coedited with John Forester), which is also published by Duke University Press.

Herbert Gottweis is Professor of Political Science at the University of Vienna and Visiting Professor at the United Nations University in Tokyo and in the Sociology Department at Kyung Hee University in Seoul. Among his books is Governing Molecules: The Discursive Politics of Genetic Engineering in Europe and the United States.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Introduction: The Argumentative Turn Revisited / Frank Fischer and Herbert Gottweis 1

Part I. Deliberative Policy Argumentation and Public Participation

1. Fostering Deliberation in the Forum and Beyond / John S. Dryzek and Carolyn M. Hendriks 31

2. Performing Place Governance Collaboratively: Planning as a Communicative Process / Patsy Healey 58

Part II. Discursive Politics and Argumentative Practices: Institutions and Frames

3. Discursive Institutionalism: Scope, Dynamics, and Philosophical Underpinnings / Vivien A. Schmidt 85

4. From Policy Frames to Discursive Politics: Feminist Approaches to Development Policy and Planning in an Era of Globalization / Mary Hawkesworth 114

Part III. Policy Argumentation on the Internet and in Film

5. The Internet as a Space for Policy Deliberation / Stephen Coleman 149

6. Multimedia and Urban Narratives in the Planning Process: Film as Social Inquiry and Dialogue Catalyst / Leonie Sandercock and Giovanni Attili 180

Part IV. Policy Rhetoric, Argumentation, and Semiotics

7. Political Rhetoric and Stem Cell Policy in the United States: Embodiments, Scenographics, and Emotions / Herbert Gottweis 211

8. The Deep Semiotic Structure of Deservingness: Discourse and Identity in Welfare Policy / Sanford F. Schram 236

Part V. Policy Argumentation in Critical Theory and Practice: Communicative Logics and Policy Learning

9. The Argumentative Turn toward Deliberative Democracy: Habermas's Contribution and the Foucauldian Critique / Hubertus Buchstein and Dirk Jörke 271

10. Poststructuralist Policy Analysis: Discourse, Hegemony, and Critical Explanation / David Howarth and Steven Griggs 305

11. Transformative Learning in Planning and Policy Deliberation: Probing Social Meaning and Tacit Assumptions / Frank Fischer and Alan Mandell 343

Contributors 371

Index 375
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5263-1 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5245-7
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