Rethinking Political Judgment and Science-Based Expertise

Period: 2002-2007

Granting organization: NWO

Project staff

Prof. Dr. R. Hoppe (Rob)

Dr. W. Halffman (Willem)

Project Partners

Ph.D. and Post-Doc researchers and project coordinators from other Dutch universities (Free University, Erasmus University, University of Twente).

Project description

The relationship between political judgment and scientific expertise is a troubled one. This research program intends to rethink the confusing and shifting popular images and scientific models of the links between political judgment and science-based expertise. The general research problem can be stated as: How can we describe, analyze, and assess the (dys)functions of discursive and non-discursive practices in boundary work between political judgment and science-based expertise for dealing with different types of policy problems, as manifested in the interaction between Dutch knowledge institutes and representatives of politics, policy, and interests? The empirical research is about (dys)functions of science-based expertise for political judgment as manifested in extended case histories/studies of boundary work at the science/politics nexus by five Dutch knowledge institutes, i.e. WRR, CPB, CBS, RIVM and Alterra. Based on an inventory of models of boundary work and its (dys)functions, the program intends to discover, through systematic comparative case research and analysis, the conditions under which some of these models may claim greater verisimilitude. Such empirically informed evaluative research into the meanings and functions of strategic science may suggest strategies for more productive boundary work.

Selection of recent publications

Hoppe, R. (2005). "Rethinking the science-policy nexus: from knowledge utilization and

science technology studies to types of boundary arrangements." Poiesis and Praxis:International Journal of Technology Assessment and Ethics of Science, 3(3): 199-215.

W. Halffman, R. Hoppe, , (2005). Science/policy boundaries: a changing division of

labour in Dutch scientific policy advice. P. Weingart, S. Maassen, eds., Democratization of Expertise? Exploring Novel Forms of Scientific Advice in Political

Decision-Making, Sociology of Sciences Yearbook XXIV. Dordrecht, Springer.: 135-152.

Hoppe, R. (2007) “Anorexia consulta”? Afslanking adviesinfrastructuur Rijksdienst, deel

2, Beleid & Maatschappij, 4, pp.238-250

Scholten, P. (2007), Constructing immigrant policies. Research-policy relations and

immigrant integration in the Netherlands (1970-2004), dissertation University of Twente

Halffman, W (2008), States of Nature. Nature and fish stock reports for policy, RMNO,

The Hague

Hoppe, R. (2008) “Na ‘doorwerking’, naar ‘grenzenwerk’. Een nieuwe agenda voor

onderzoek naar de verhouding tussen beleid en wetenschap, Bestuurskunde, 2008-2, 15-26

Hoppe, R. (2008) Scientific advice and public policy: expert advisers’ and policymakers’

discourses on boundary work, Poièsis & Praxis, 29 pp. (on-line doi

10.1007/s10202_008-0053-3)

De Vries, A. (2008), Towards doability. Dealing with uncertainty in the science-policy

interface, dissertation University of Twente.