Home List of Titles Making policy debate matter: practical reason, political dialogue, and transformative learning
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/87
- Making policy debate matter: practical reason, political dialogue, and transformative learning
- Healy, Paul
- In a provocative recent study, Bent Flyvbjerg makes a sustained case for the need for a revitalized conception of social inquiry with direct input into the policy-making and planning process, contending that it is only in this way that social science can be made to matter again. Flyvbjerg further contends that to do justice to the reality of contemporary policy forums, we need to embrace a thoroughgoing dialogical conception of the policy-making process itself. To vindicate this contention and theoretically ground the envisaged dialogical ideal, Flyvbjerg draws extensively on the work of both Habermas and Foucault. In so doing, he makes a valuable contribution to delineating the requirements that contemporary policy forums must meet if participants can judiciously claim to be engaging in decision-making in the best interests of the community at large. However, the overall tenability of Flyvbjerg’s proposal is diminished because, motivated by his convictions about the importance of power relations in determining real-world policy outcomes, he engages in a one-sided defence of the merits of Foucault’s contribution to the neglect of Habermas’s input in informing us about the ground rules needed to structure policy debate to ensure an equitable outcome. The aim of the present article is to redress this imbalance. To this end, I argue that given certain weaknesses in Foucault’s formulation of his position, we must draw on Habermas as a corrective if we are to succeed in advancing the dialogical ideal envisaged by Flyvbjerg. Beyond defending the need for a complementary reading of these theorists, I undertake to facilitate the implementation of the envisaged dialogical ideal by further elucidating the discursive conditions needed to underpin it.
- Publication type
- Journal article
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology. School of Social and Behavioural Sciences
- History of the Human Sciences, Vol. 17, no. 1 (2004), pp. 77-106
- Publication year
- Dialogue; Foucault; Habermas; Planning; Policy-making
- Sage Publications
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2004 Sage Publications.
- Peer reviewed