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Call for panels is closed!

Affairs such as Stuttgart 21, the ‘Occupy movement’s’ response to the financial crisis, ecological problems, or diverse controversies around novel technologies, are timely examples of conflicts between groups of publics and the political establishment. Such movements put into question the status of legitimate knowledge and the articulation of legitimate representation. They question, at the same time, routine operations of traditional democratic institutions, and reintroduce the question of how to define “the political” and “politics” in general.

The 8th continuation of the IPA conference gives therefore a special focus to the intersection of policy analysis with Science and Technology Studies (STS) by highlighting the relation between publics and experts around one of the fundamental keywords of politics: “conflict”. We conceive conflicts as constellations of knowledge and power, in which diverse actors are gathered around values, meanings and practices. The complexity of current policy issues and the institutional ambiguity create a demand for new forms of dealing with conflicts. They also invite us to study formats, in which the meaning of expertise and citizen participation can be renegotiated in performative manners.

Rearticulating policy settings along the relation between experts and publics is one of the main challenges of current research on democracy, governance and policy practices. Actors increasingly establish their positions through argumentations or performances, while the increased need for public acknowledgment recasts the issue of citizen’s participation or the framing of “experts”. These ideas are not entirely new: interpretive policy analysts have investigated mechanisms through which knowledge becomes the central device of power, creates institutions and governs them and/or legitimizes agendas of policy actors. In a similar vein, STS scholars have shown that scientific knowledge can legitimize political agendas or block them. Towards that end, they have investigated, how “experts” get their status and how they shape and are shaped by “publics”. By debating and analyzing the shape of diverse “publics”, they have also launched the question of whose knowledge counts as legitimate in specific time and place.

In the last decades, questions like these have regained the interest in both policy analysis and STS. How do we think about the study of conflicts through interpretive lenses? What aspects do we consider both as analysts and practitioners, when facing conflicts and controversies in environmental, urban, planning or health care policies? In how far do the current policy debates force us to rethink, what we mean by “political” and “politics”? What is the role or function of policy analysis and analysts in times of multiple crises? These are some of the pending issues that will be addressed at the IPA conference 2013.

We therefore welcome proposals for panels that reconsider the relationship between publics and experts and engage one or more of the following themes:

  • Questioning of traditional models of government, administration and policy-making in response to the relationship between experts and publics.

  • Theoretical reflections on the ontological dimension of a “conflict”: investigating the meaning of “politics” and “the political”.

  • The intersection of STS approaches with particular theoretical or philosophical approach (e.g. pragmatism, hermeneutics, post-structuralism, etc.).

  • The role of performativity and engagement in policymaking and democratic governance

  • Case studies from particular policy issue arenas that deal with “conflict” (e.g. the new challenges of environmental politics; bio-politics; local governance; asylum or immigration policy; food policy; urban and regional planning; issues of risk and novelty).

  •  Interpretive perspectives on community conflict resolution practices; policy evaluation; leadership; network organizations; and other public management questions.

  • The relationship between practitioners and policy analysis.

  • Clarification of approaches in use (e.g. varieties of discourse analysis or narrative analyses; the role of rhetoric and metaphor, the role of arguments, the role of emotions).

  • Methodological issues in doing critical policy analysis (e.g. reflexivity in policy analytic practices; getting, and using, feedback from ‘informants’; issues in using new recording technologies; data collection and analysis; evaluating software programs).


Life Science Governance Platform
University of Vienna
Universitätsstrasse 7
A-1010 Vienna

Email: ipa2013@univie.ac.at
University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0
Lastupdate: 18.02.2013 - 13:17