Table of Contents

Handbook of Critical Policy Studies

Handbook of Critical Policy Studies

Handbooks of Research on Public Policy series

Edited by Frank Fischer, Douglas Torgerson, Anna Durnová and Michael Orsini

Critical policy studies, as illustrated in this Handbook, challenges the conventional approaches public policy inquiry. But it offers important innovations as well, in particular its focus on discursive politics, policy argumentation and deliberation, and interpretive modes of analysis.

Chapter 8: The interpretation of power

Timothy W. Luke

Subjects: business and management, critical management studies, politics and public policy, public policy, regulation and governance, research methods, qualitative research methods


This chapter provides a provisional reading of how critical interpretative policy studies could productively approach the challenges of interpreting power as an object of political analysis. It presents this case by re-evaluating the sites and settings in which power typically is studied by policy analysis. The discussion, however, makes a case for interpreting power, as a set of directive relations, which is co-evolving and co-constituting in agent-structure interactions with knowledge. It encourages critical policy analysis to thoroughly contest technocratic uses of power in policy-making, and endorses the acceptance of more flexible and fluid interpretations of power at work in multiple sites and settings at all levels of governance.

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