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Usable knowledge in public policy


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Adams, D 2004 , 'Usable knowledge in public policy' , Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 63, no. 1 , pp. 29-42 , doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8500.2004.00357.x.

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The range of usable information for public policy is complex and distributed but policy debate is still dominated by instrumental and centralised information constructed and controlled by functional and managerial experts - the creed of expertise. In recent years other types of 'usable' knowledge has begun to flow back into policy streams and in particular local knowledge (sometimes called community knowledge) is staging a major revival. This inductive knowledge is now being merged with the deductive paradigms of new public management.

In the first section I illustrate the key features of expert-based knowledge and how it pervades our thinking about how policy happens and the valued content of policy. Then I outline the types of usable information that flows into government and therefore constitutes the basic building blocks for knowledge. Finally, I drill down to expand on the idea of community knowledge and illustrate what it actually looks like.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Adams, D
Keywords: Usable knowledge; public policy; local knowledge; community knowledge
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of Public Administration
ISSN: 0313-6647
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/j.1467-8500.2004.00357.x
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