Handbooks of Research on Public Policy series
Edited by Frank Fischer, Douglas Torgerson, Anna Durnová and Michael Orsini
Chapter 21: Making sense of policy practices: interpretation and meaning
Interpretive policy analysis – which derived its name from the interpretive turn under way in the latter part of the 20th century across the social sciences – departed from a different set of methodological presuppositions from those informing policy analysis as that practice had been initially conceived. Shifting analytic focus away from instrumental rationality, it turned to meaning-making – its expression as well as its communication – as an alternative for explaining human action. This chapter expounds on this background, highlighting the ontological and epistemological presuppositions that lie at the heart of interpretive policy analysis, and their methodological implications, illustrated by an example from the author’s research.
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