The possible experts: how epistemic communities negotiate barriers to knowledge use in ecosystems services policy
Dunlop, Claire A.
Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy
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The increased saliency of how to value ecosystems services has driven up the demand for policy-relevant knowledge. It is clear that epistemic communities’ advice can show-up in policy outcomes, yet little systematic analysis exists prescribing how this can actually be achieved. This article draws on four decades of knowledge utilisation research to propose four types of ‘possible expert’ that might be influential on ecosystems services. The first section reports the broad findings of a literature review on knowledge use in public policy, and outlines the four-fold conceptualisation pioneered by Carol Weiss that defines the literature. Section two systematises the field by placing these four modes of knowledge use within an explanatory typology of policy learning. With how, when and why experts and their knowledge are likely to show-up in policy outcomes established, the article then proposes the boundaries of the possible in how the ecosystems services epistemic community might navigate the challenges associated with each learning mode. Four possible experts emerge. The expert with: political antenna and epistemic humility; the ability to speak locally and early to the hearts and minds of citizens; a willingness to advocate policy, and, finally, an enhanced institutional awareness and peripheral policy vision. The article concludes with a brief discussion of the utility of the analysis.
European Research Council
notes: This paper is based on research carried out with the support of the European Research Council grant on Analysis of Learning in Regulatory Governance, ALREG http://centres.exeter.ac.uk/ceg/research/ALREG/index.php. The author wishes to thank the other authors in this special edition and in particular the issue editors Andy Jordan and Duncan Russel.
Claire A Dunlop, 2014. The definitive, peer-reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 32(2), 2014.
Vol. 32, Issue 2