Learning through Interaction
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The importance of people as knowledge sources for the civil servants became clear early on in fieldwork, supporting a widely held conclusion in the evidence and policy literature about the significance of interactions for knowledge mobilisation between policy-makers and researchers. I spent a considerable part of the remaining time in the field trying to understand why embodied knowledge was so valuable in this context, and what it was that happened in interactions between civil servants and their consultees which made them such important sites for knowledge work. I focused on the ways that interviewees talked about their discussions with others when responding to open questions about how they went about developing a policy. I asked direct questions about why they preferred speaking to people instead of reading texts, and whether a particular meeting could have been replaced by an exchange of emails or papers. And in the meetings I observed, I attended to what it was about individuals’ contributions, and the back and forth of conversation, that seemed to be so valuable to the civil servants.
KeywordsCivil Servant Knowledge Mobilisation Policy Idea Senior Civil Servant Dominant Policy
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