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January 4, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

The limits of critiques of traditional policy making

The idea that this proves that science is bad for minorities is a bit of a stretch for me.
The counter empirical examples are a litany.

Plus, the idea that we should never use any old structure…or structure with a history would lead to absolute, total, and utter paralysis.

At a minimum it would turn back the clock to hyper-individualist living off the land Ralph Waldo Emerson style. Which while it might be nice for a month….would pretty much suck for our quality of life & death rates.

Science sure spoke truth to power on the issue of tobacco use being harmful & it sure shined light on solutions to the problems of millions women & people in the developing world.

Plus, debate good…solves back most of the problems of traditional policy making. The idea that we are traditional policy makers is a rather robust hyperbole which is an attempt to appeal to an archtype–an archtype that debates are continually re-defining and re-configuring on a round by round basis.

Respect & dignity & rights as impact stories seem to solve this back. Our policymaking is infused with other values than some economist looking at actuarial charts.

Shaw, ’04 [Katharine, Associate Professor of Urban Studies at Ohio State Using Feminist Critical Policy Analysis in the Realm of Higher Education: The Case of Welfare Reform as Gendered Educational Policy Source: The Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 75, No. 1, Special Issue: Questions of Research and Methodology, (Jan. – Feb., 2004), pp. 56-79]

The methods and theoretical frameworks that dominate current policy analysis have been developed and implemented by those in power who, particularly in the world of policy formation and analysis, are overwhelmingly white, male, and well educated. Thus, traditional policy research has, according to Marshall, reflected the assumptions, worldview, and values of this group. As is the case with much mainstream research in the social sciences, traditional policy analysis can be characterized by the following elements. Among the most important are a belief in a single concept of truth (truth with a capital “T”); the assumption that objectivity on the part of the researcher is both achievable and desirable; the assumption that all research subjects share the same relationship to their social environment, thereby rendering such particularities as gender, race, social class, and sexuality unimportant; and the practice of evaluating women on the basis of male norms (Bensimon & Marshall, 1997, p. 7-8). Since this positivist paradigm is so widely accepted in the policy world, it allows policy analysts to assume a dispassionate, objective stance and at the same time encourages the broader policy community to perceive the research enterprise in this way. Thus, traditional policy analysis willfully ignores the inherently political nature of all research, and policy research in particular. As Marshall states, “Traditional policy analysis is grounded in a narrow, falsely objective, overly instrumental view of rationality that masks its latent biases and allows policy elites and technocrats to present analyses and plans as neutral and objective when they are actually tied to prevailing relations of power” (1997a, p. 3).


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