Critical policy studies, as this volume illustrates, challenges conventional approaches to public policy inquiry with its focus on discursive politics, policy argumentation and deliberation, and interpretive modes of analysis. Assembling the voices of established and emerging scholars, the Handbook of Critical Policy Studies fills a major gap in the policy literature.
Moving beyond the false neutrality of empiricism and positivism, this Handbook highlights the responsibility of inquirers to take account of social and political context – including present conditions, past trends and prevailing power relationships – to advance inquiry that relies not only on experts but also on citizens in a manner supporting and encouraging democracy. Not only does this call for a reconsideration of the interplay of qualitative and quantitative methods but also for robust attention to the role of values.
Accessible to scholars, practitioners and students alike, the book offers a compilation of new critical work that both assesses past developments and appraises emerging issues.
Michael Orsini is a Full Professor in the School of Political Studies and Vice-Dean of graduate studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa.