Panels details > Panel 04

P04- Agency and Strategy in Discursive Policy Analysis

PANEL Organizers:

Leipold Sina (, University of Freiburg (Germany)
• Winkel Georg (, University of Freiburg (Germany)


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. 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 address 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. 


Discourse, Agency, Strategy, Narrative


Sciences Po Lille B2.3

SESSION 1 : 9/07/2015 : 16:00-17:30

Chair: Sina Leipold, University of Freiburg, Germany

Using Rhetorical Analysis to Understand Agency and Strategy in Discursive Policy Analysis

Winton Sue (, York University (Canada)

A concept shaped by agency and structure - Comparing the implementation of a flood risk concept in the Netherlands and Flanders

Kaufmann Maria (, Radboud University Nijmegen (Netherlands)

Durability, legibility and leverage: the role of institutions in discourse-analytical approaches

Steinwall Anders, (, Umeå University (Sweden)

Constructing Immigrant Citizenship: Agency in Discourse of Incorporation Practitioners

Weide Marjukka (, University of Jyväskylä (Finland)

Education Policy Reforms and Their Publics in China

Tan Charlene (, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)

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