Handbook of European Policies
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Handbook of European Policies

Interpretive Approaches to the EU

Edited by Hubert Heinelt and Sybille Münch

This definitive Handbook addresses the current lack of research into European policymaking and development using an interpretive perspective. Questioning areas that mainstream approaches tend to neglect, contributors target the ways in which ideas, arguments and discourses shape policies in the institutional context of the EU.
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Chapter 19: Think tanks in EU public policies

Jesper Dahl Kelstrup


Think tanks, which concern themselves with EU affairs, have developed in tandem with European integration over three ‘waves’. An interpretive approach is applied to reconstruct the self-perception and intentions of some of those active in think tanks in the EU. Although notions of value-free policy analysis and advice, a trademark of technocratic reasoning, feature prominently among EU think tanks, the chapter reveals different understandings of the ways in which public knowledge should be legitimated in the EU. The most recent wave of think tanks has contributed towards opening up the ways in which knowledge can be made authoritative in the EU, for example, by interacting directly with citizens in the member states or by calling into question Brussels as the geopolitical center of the EU.

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