Relational policy analysis – integrating empirical knowledge, technical knowledge and practical wisdom

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Abstract

This paper explores a relational approach to policy analysis through the everyday work and practice of front-line public service providers. Aristotle’s theory of knowledge types is conceptualized as providing three overlapping conceptual frameworks for understanding and enacting relational practices in public policy - empirical knowledge, technical knowledge and practice wisdom. The paper explores how relational practices might be strengthened and sustained through the integration of these knowledge types. The paper derives insights from a qualitative case study of a community planning partnership in Scotland including interviews and observations of meetings between front-line service providers in housing, cleansing, policing and greenspace services; two strategic directors; and knowledge producers; and collaborative action research with public participation professionals. Building on insights from practice theory, interpretive and deliberative policy analysis, and knowledge mobilization literature, the discussion considers the challenges in practice – both methodologically and action-oriented – in taking relational processes forward. It explores how a relational approach might complement the integration of empirical knowledge with technical knowledge and practice wisdom.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Public Policy (ICPP4)
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2019

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