Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Richard Simeon and the Policy Sciences Project

  • Michael M. Atkinson (a1)

Abstract

In his classic 1976 article on the state of policy studies in Canada, Richard Simeon explicitly warned against following the path toward a policy science. Simeon was suspicious of the normative agenda embedded in the policy sciences project and worried that it would submerge politics in a broader set of interdisciplinary concerns. Was Simeon right? The policy sciences have not developed the way their principal proponent, Harold Lasswell, had anticipated or hoped, but neither has the study of public policy developed exactly as Simeon advocated. Both Lasswell and Simeon believed strongly in an empirical orientation and Lasswell, more than Simeon, focused on creating a tool kit of techniques. Schools of public policy have moved beyond both critique and technique to estimate risk, ameliorate error and mobilize knowledge. This new agenda requires students of public policy to acquire and employ practical knowledge steeped in the particular and instructed by policy narratives.

Dans son article désormais classique de 1976 sur l’état des études sur les politiques publiques au Canada, Richard Simeon mettait explicitement en garde contre la tentation de prendre le chemin menant à une science des politiques publiques. Simeon se méfiait du programme normatif inscrit dans le projet d'une science des politiques et craignait qu'il submergerait la politique dans un ensemble plus vaste de préoccupations de nature interdisciplinaire. Simeon, avait-il raison? Les sciences des politiques publiques n'ont pas évolué dans le sens où l'avait anticipé ou espéré Harold Lasswell, leur principal promoteur, mais l’étude des politiques publiques ne s'est pas développée non plus exactement comme l'avait préconisé Simeon. Aussi bien Lasswell que Simeon croyaient fermement en une orientation empirique. Lasswell, plus que Simeon, s'est appliqué à créer une boîte à outils de techniques. Les écoles de politiques publiques ont dépassé autant la critique que la technique afin d’évaluer le risque, de corriger l'erreur et de mobiliser les connaissances. Ce nouveau programme exige des étudiants en politiques publiques l'acquisition et l'emploi de connaissances pratiques ancrées dans le particulier et dictées par l'exposé des réalités politiques.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Acemoglu, Daron and Robinson, James A.. 2012. Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty. New York: Crown Business.
Atkinson, Michael M. 2013. “Policy, Politics and Political Science.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 46: 751–72.
Aucoin, Peter. 1986. “Organizational Change in the Machinery of Canadian Government: From Rational Management to Brokerage Politics.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 19: 327.
Bardach, Eugene. 2011. Practical Guide for Policy Analysis. 4th ed. Washington: CQ Press.
Baron, Jonathan. 1998. Judgment Misguided: Intuition and Error in Public Decision Making. New York: Oxford University Press.
Bobrow, Davis B. 1977. “Beyond Markets and Lawyers.” American Journal of Political Science 21: 415–19.
Bobrow, Davis B. and Dryzek, John S.. 1987. Policy Analysis by Design. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
DeLeon, Peter. 1988. Advice and Consent: The Development of the Policy Sciences. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
DeLeon, Peter. 2006. “The Historical Roots of the Field.” In The Oxford Handbook of Public Policy, ed. Moran, Michael, Rein, Robert and Goodin, Robert. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Drummond, Don. 2011. “Personal Reflections on the State of Public Policy Analysis in Canada.” In New Directions for Intelligent Government in Canada, ed. Gorbet, Fred and Sharpe, Andrew. Ottawa: Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
Dryzek, John S. 1989. “Policy Sciences of Democracy.” Polity 22: 97118.
Dryzek, John S. 1993. “Policy Analysis and Planning: From Science to Argument.” In The Argumentative Turn in Policy Analysis and Planning, ed. Fischer, Frank and Forester, J.. Durham NC: Duke University Press.
Dror, Yehezkel. 1967. “Policy Analysts: A New Professional Role in Government Service.” Public Administration Review 27: 197203.
Durant, Robert F. 2016. “Perverse Incentives and the Neglect of Big Questions.” Governance 29: 316–18.
Eulau, Heinz. 1977. “The Interventionist Synthesis.” American Journal of Political Science 21: 419–23.
Farr, James, Hacker, Jacob S. and Kazee, Nicole. 2006. “The Policy Scientist of Democracy: The Discipline of Harold D. Lasswell.” American Political Science Review 100: 579–87.
Farr, James, Hacker, Jacob S. and Kazee, Nicole. 2008. “Revisiting Lasswell.” Policy Sciences 41: 2132.
Fischer, Frank. 1990. Technocracy and the Politics of Expertise. New York: Sage.
Flyvbjerg, Bent. 2001. Making Social Science Matter. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Geva-May, Iris and Maslove, Alan M.. 2007. “In Between Trends: Developments of Public Policy Analysis and Policy Analysis Instruction in Canada, the United States, and the European Union.” In Policy Analysis in Canada: The State of the Art, ed. Dobuzinskis, Laurent, Howlett, Michael and Laycock, David. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Gray, John. 2009. Gray's Anatomy: Selected Writings. Toronto: Anchor Books.
Heclo, Hugh H. 1972. “Policy Analysis.” British Journal of Political Science 2: 83108.
Hoppe, Robert. 2011. The Governance of Problems: Puzzling, Powering and Participation. Bristol: Policy Press.
Howlett, Michael. 2009. “Policy Analytical Capacity and Evidence-Based Policy: Lessons from Canada.” Canadian Public Administration 52: 153–75.
Jones, Bryan D. and Baumgartner, Frank. 2005. The Politics of Attention: How Governments Prioritize Problems. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Kaplan, Abraham. 1964. The Conduct of Inquiry. New York: Chandler
Lasswell, Harold D. 1951. “The Policy Orientation.” In The Policy Sciences: Recent Developments in Scope and Methods, ed. Lasswell, Harold D. and Lerner, Daniel. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Lasswell, Harold D. 1956. “The Political Science of Science: An Inquiry into the Possible Reconciliation of Mastery and Freedom.” American Political Science Review 50: 961–79.
Lasswell, Harold D. 1958. Politics: Who Gets What, When, and How. Cleveland: Meridian.
Lasswell, Harold D. 1971. A Pre-View of the Policy Sciences. New York: Elsevier.
Lasswell, Harold D. 1974. “Some Perplexities of Policy Theory.” Social Research Spring : 41: 176–88.
Lasswell, Harold D. and McDougal, Myers S.. 1992. Jurisprudence for a Free Society: Studies in Law, Science and Policy. Boston: M. Nijhoff.
Lindvall, Johannes. 2009. “The Real But Limited Influence of Expert Ideas.” World Politics 61: 703–30.
Mahoney, James and Thelen, Kathleen, eds. 2015. Advances in Comparative-Historical Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mintrom, Michael. 2007. “The Policy Analysis Movement.” In Policy Analysis in Canada: The State of the Art, ed. Dobuzinskis, Laurent, Howlett, Michael and Laycock, David. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Moe, Terry. 2005. “Power and Political Institutions.” Perspectives on Politics 3: 215–33.
Montpetit, Éric. 2016. In Defense of Pluralism: Policy Disagreement and Its Media Coverage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Pal, Leslie A. 1996. “Missed Opportunities or Comparative Advantage? Canadian Contributions to the Study of Public Policy.” In Policy Studies in Canada: The State of the Art, ed. Dobuzinskis, Laurent, Howlett, Michael and Laycock, David. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Pal, Leslie A. 2014. Beyond Policy Analysis: Public Issue Management in Turbulent Times. Toronto: Nelson.
Pawson, Ray. 2006. Evidence-based Policy: A Realist Perspective. London: Sage.
Prince, Michael. 2007. “Soft Craft, Hard Choices, Altered Context: Reflections on Twenty-Five Years of Policy Advice in Canada.” In Policy Analysis in Canada: The State of the Art, ed. Dobuzinskis, Laurent, Howlett, Michael and Laycock, David. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Radin, Beryl. 2013. Beyond Machiavelli: Policy Analysis Reaches Midlife. Washington: Georgetown University Press.
Rein, Martin and Wright, Sheldon H.. 1977. “Can Policy Research Help Policy?The Public Interest 49: 119–36.
Roberts, Alasdair. 2016. “Public Management: A Flawed Kind of Statecraft.” Governance 29: 316–18.
Schuck, Peter H. 2014. Why Government Fails So Often: And How It Can Do Better. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.
Simeon, Richard. 1976. “Studying Public Policy.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 9: 548–80.
Simeon, Richard. 1996. “Afterword: ‘New’ Directions in Canadian Policy Studies.” In Policy Studies in Canada: The State of the Art, ed. Dobuzinskis, Laurent, Howlett, Michael and Laycock, David. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Simeon, Richard. 2006. “Federalism and Social Justice: Thinking Through the Tangle.” In Territory, Democracy and Justice: Regionalism and Federalism in Western Democracies, ed. Greer, Scott L.. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Stone, Deborah. 2002. Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making. rev. ed. New York: Norton.
Thiele, Leslie Paul. 2006. The Heart of Judgment: Practical Wisdom, Neuroscience, and Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tollison, Robert D. 1982. “Rent-Seeking: A Survey.” Kyklos 35: 575602.
Douglas, Torgerson. 1985. “Contextual Orientation in Policy Analysis: The Contribution of Harold D. Lasswell.” Policy Sciences 18: 242–61.
Trudeau, Pierre-Elliott. 1968. Federalism and the French-Canadians. Toronto: Macmillan.
Weimer, David L. and Vining, Adrian R.. 2011. Policy Analysis. 5th ed. Boston: Longman.
Wellstead, Adam and Stedman, Richard. 2010. “Policy Capacity and Incapacity in Canada's Federal Government.” Public Management Review 12: 893910.
Wildavsky, Aaron. 1979. Speaking Truth to Power: The Art and Craft of Policy Analysis. New York: Transaction Books.
Wildavsky, Aaron. 1985. “The Once and Future School of Public Policy.” The Public Interest 79: 2541.

Richard Simeon and the Policy Sciences Project

  • Michael M. Atkinson (a1)

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed