Public Policy Research, deconstructing the French touch
Critical Policy Studies
GB : Routledge
201 - 207 p.
policy analysis, France, intellectual influences
This paper, written for the Forum section of Critical Policy Studies, is a personal account of public policy analysis in France which was first presented at the 2010 Grenoble Interpretive Policy Analysis conference. It aims to complement the piece published in this journal by Philippe Zittoun in 2010. It is not fully referenced, and only reflects the author's limited understanding and knowledge of different traditions of research in the French context. In contrast with many analyses in the social sciences that invent, or reinvent, some kind of ‘French touch’, I argue that there were always many contrasting intellectual traditions that were drawn on to analyze public policy in France, that none of them was dominant, and that many of them were not specifically French. Also, analysis of public policy was mainly developed within political science and sociology, where postmodern literature from Lyotard to Derrida was more or less non-existent The ‘French theory’ tradition, as invented in the United States, has had little or no influence on public policy analysis, with the important exceptions of Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu. In other words, this short paper aims at rebutting the continuing external ‘intellectual commodification’ of French policy studies, while engaging with the unique sets of intellectual traditions that have emerged in France, with their cross-influences, in the study of public policy.