Bartels argues in Chapter 17 that interactive governance has rapidly been institutionalized in the public sector, but cannot guarantee productive dynamics and positive outcomes. He argues that making interactive governance work hinges on how it takes shape through encounters in daily practice. In their interactions, stakeholders can enact predetermined institutional interests, procedures and routines (logic of the organization) or engage in a process of discovering how best to address the needs and dynamics at hand (law of the situation). This framework is empirically grounded in and practically illustrated by the case of a Neighbourhood Practice Team in Amsterdam-West, the Netherlands. The analysis critically appraises its successful practice of ‘doing what’s necessary’: following the needs of the residents and the dynamics of the neighbourhood rather than abiding by pre-set interests, goals and procedures. Bartels explains how this works, what challenges it runs into, and why it makes a difference.
Koen P.R. Bartels
Understanding policy as practice means that policy does not so much take the shape of formal statements (decisions, rules, documents) but is both a process and outcome of the ordinary, situated and embodied activities which policy actors routinely enact in the course of participating in the policy process. This chapter reviews how the historical development of policy studies is intimately tied up with analysis of practice and explains how practice theory provides a philosophical programme that confirms and extends thinking of policy as practice. The chapter also considers a variety of ways in which practice has been analysed and what has been gained from these studies and their different approaches. Finally, several methods and challenges involved with studying policy as practice are discussed.