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5th Interpretive Policy Analysis Conference

Discursive politics and policy practices

When: 23 – 25 June 2010

Where: Grenoble (France)

Organisation: SciencePo Grenoble


Interpretive Policy Analysis entails diverse methodological paths aiming to explain current challenges of politics. Various revisions of policy analysis in its linguistic, argumentative, or discursive turns have been triggering recent research in the field. Although manifold discussions have already contributed in considerable ways to the establishment of the tradition of interpretive analysis in politics, many points and questions still remain open. Hence, the conference addressed both theoretical and methodological research issues in the interpretive tradition which discuss and revise “discourse”, “interpretation” and “practice” in their various political dimensions. What ontological and epistemological aspects does analyzing discourses entail? What is the role of public policy in these interpretive traditions? What can the practice of public policy and its analysis reveal to us in terms of concepts, theories or policy designs and policy planning practices?

The aim and challenge of the 5th meeting of IPA was to raise a crucial set of questions that deal with (1)   the theoretical background of conducting interpretive policy analysis; (2)   methodological accounts and innovations in the field; (3)   the practical role of policy analysts and policy planners; and(4) empirical examples that visualize the current context of discursive politics and policy practices. IPA 2010 stressed in particular the relationship among policy, legitimacy and power. The relationship among politics, legitimacy and power raises a host of interesting questions. Worries about democratic deficits highlight the question of legitimacy and power and invite reconsiderations of the very core of policy practice as either an “intellectual construct” or an analytic category through which policy analysts and policy planners inspect the nature of politics that is at stake. These themes were particularly evident in the plenary sessions, which were focused on new forms of institutionalization of policy practice, rethinking the theory and practice of legitimacy, and debating different methods of interpretation and critical explanation of public policy in general.

Keynote speakers

Vivien A. Schmidt
Bruno Latour


Philippe Zitoun
Anna Durnova