Edited by Christopher Ansell and Jacob Torfing
Chapter 31: Narrative and interpretive theory
Interpretive research has revealed the place of meaning and culture in governance. For interpretivists, governance is an intersubjective world constituted by many different actors, meanings, and arguments. Governance is a practical and interpretive process in which individuals and organizations make sense of the world and respond. Policymakers interpret the world not through a primary focus on institutions but through contextualized meaning. The emphasis on subjectivity, situated knowledge, ideas and cultural specificity directs researchers to use textual analyses and close interpretations of governance practices. Understanding governance requires understanding what it means for the political actors themselves and how deliberation takes place in governance networks. The challenges for interpretivists are to engage with other perspectives on governance, particularly forms of institutionalism, and to develop a robust account of power.
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