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Citizen participation and the democratization of policy expertise: From theoretical inquiry to practical cases

Abstract

This article examines the case for a participatory policy analysis. An idea advanced mainly by democratic and postpositivist theorists is increasingly becoming a practical concern. Criticizing conventional conceptions of science and expertise, theorists advocating participatory democracy argue that the conventional model of professionalism based on a practitioner-client hierarchy must give way to a more collaborative method of inquiry. While such arguments have largely remained in the domain of utopian speculation, recent experiences with a number of ‘wicked’ policy problems have begun to suggest the viability, if not the necessity, of participatory research methods. Through two case illustrations of a wicked problem, the so-called ‘Nimby Syndrome,’ the essay seek to demonstrate that collaborative citizen-expert inquiry may well hold the key to solving a specific category of contemporary policy problems. The article concludes with some observations on the possibilities of bringing participatory research more fully into mainstream policy science.

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Fischer, F. Citizen participation and the democratization of policy expertise: From theoretical inquiry to practical cases. Policy Sci 26, 165–187 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00999715

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Keywords

  • Participatory Research
  • Policy Analysis
  • Specific Category
  • Policy Science
  • Theoretical Inquiry