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Frank Fischer

This chapter will begin with a short history of the emergence of the argumentative turn in critical policy studies from the 1970s forward. Beginning with the argumentative turn, it will explain more specifically what the argumentative approach has meant for standard models of policy analysis, and in particular what makes it critical. Along the way it will show how the perspective has evolved over two decades, moving from argumentation to deliberation, discourse, citizens panels, participatory expertise, interpretation, a recognition of the importance of emotions in policy deliberative processes, among others. A four-level model of policy discourse will be presented, with particular reference to the limitations of the advocacy coalition framework. Before concluding, the chapter will briefly discuss the relationship of argumentation and discourse to politics with an emphasis on policy change.

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Frank Fischer

It is widely asserted in environmental political theory that the solution to the environmental crisis, including the climate change crisis, is more democracy. Indeed, this has given rise to an extensive literature on ecological citizenship and environmental democracy. But a sober assessment of the possibility of establishing environmental democracy in the time available suggests we need to think more carefully about this assertion. If the worse crisis scenarios evolve, many people are likely to concentrate on protecting their own interests rather than those of society at large. Support for technological over social solutions will grow, as it will for forms of eco-authoritarianism in the name of survivalism. Leading thinkers employ the analogy of war, when democracy is shelved for a period of time. There is thus a need to think more practically about how democratic values and practices might be preserved should future generations face such a crisis. In search of an alternative, the chapter argues for paying more attention to localism and the global ecovillage movement more specifically. If people have to flee unlivable cities, there may be much to learn from people who have already sustainable communities based on forms of participatory democratic governance.

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Frank Fischer, Douglas Torgerson, Anna Durnová and Michael Orsini

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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.