Interpretive Policy Analysis Conference (IPA)

Dear Colleagues,
We would like to draw your attention to the panel (P04) “Agency and Strategy in Discursive Policy Analysis” at the 10th Interpretive Policy Analysis Conference (IPA), July 8-10, 2015 in Lille, France.
The call is now open and paper proposals can be submitted through the conference website.( ) until February 3, 2015.
Chairs and discussants: Georg Winkel & Sina Leipold (University of Freiburg)
Discourse analysis and related approaches, such as narrative analysis, remain very popular among policy analysts. While a central conceptual focus of many of these approaches is on discourse production (practices) at the”interface” between actors and discourses, the analytical focus of many research applications is on structures (discourse). Agency, in contrast, is either black boxed or conceived as somehow “strategically motivated”.
Hence, agency and strategy remain problematic concepts in discursive and narrative policy analysis. Actors and agents as well as strategic motivations and practices are often associated with positivist accounts of analysis and, consequently, viewed as in conflict with a discourse perspective. At the same time, “positivist” political science analysts are increasingly interested in the “language aspects”, discursive/narrative elements, and “responsibility ascriptions” in strategic political practice (cf. König/Wenzelburger 2014).
Intrigued by the discrepancy between the growing interest in discursive agency and strategy amongst political science scholars, and the discomfort of conceptually and empirically dealing with these issues under a “discourse perspective”, this panel aims to bring agency and strategy more to the attention of discourse/narrative analysts and inspire a critical debate about their role in discourse/narrative analytical theory and research practice. Questions we would like to explore include:
How is agency constituted in the policy-making process?
How do certain societal groups and individuals become relevant and legitimate “actors” in public discourses while
others do not?
What does “strategic” mean in discursive policy analysis and how to analyse it?
What “strategic” practices occur in discursive policy making and how can they be conceptualized and researched?
In order to facilitate an exchange of theoretical and empirical perspectives on these questions, we ask for both theoretical presentations that addresses the conceptual and methodological dimensions of actors and strategies, and empirical studies that address the role of agency and strategies in public and policy discourses/narratives.
We wish you a happy new year and look forward to your paper proposals!
For questions, please contact: Sina Leipold
Forest and Environmental Policy Group, University of Freiburg, Germany
Click link for more information…

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